Summer Camp 2014 Note (or “Old Susan”) -21 Jul 14

Hi Scouting parents!!

Several of you have sent me emails asking me to explain please why you have spent $200 or more for a week of summer camp and your Scout comes back with half completed merit badges; or the Scoutmaster says that he needs to find a counselor back home to finish up work he started at camp. Your messages to me start out “but I thought that’s what the summer camp money was for — for him to get three or four or eight merits toward his rank!” Three of you out there ended your messages asking me “And can you PLEASE tell me the words to “Old Susan”…when my son belts it out in the bathtub (shower), I can swear that it’s NOT any kind of Scout song to ME!”

NO. I am very sorry you were misled and misinformed. That $200 or so you spent on your son to go to Boy Scout summer camp is for your son to experience the summer camp experience. Organized camping. Organized meals and snacks. Organized swimming and other aquatic activities. And yes, organized instruction and counseling in 30 or 40 areas (depending on camp) so that he is aware of, familiar with, and have some basic and perhaps intermediate knowledge on some aspect of a Scout skill, a hobby, vocation or Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit questions and answers!

You did not “buy him” a merit badge with that money. Nor did you “purchase for him” a lifeguard, firearms, or a culinary certificate. You bought him a week of being out with other boys, supervised at a distance by experienced (and inexperienced!) adults. You allowed him to breath cleaner air, eat different foods, learn the words to some songs (clean and dirty, sorry about that…boys are boys!), to help him think about his relationship to the land he walks on, the animals he sees or hears, and whatever Creator or Provider which made this all occur on this Earth. You placed him in a next to realistic environment in which he HAS to cooperate with others, meet and talk with people he would not normally see at home, and make new friends. You gave him a week or so of SUMMER CAMP, not an “extended school workshop” nor an “outdoor fair” in which he spends his time listening to others and to get something signed in exchange for that droning.

When he shows you the pieces of cardstock which says “partial”; or when his Scoutmaster tells you next week or somewhere down the road that “he needs to still finish Cooking” or whatever the subject is “because he didn’t complete all of the requirements”, don’t start trying to find some way to “off” the guy or gal. It is his or her way of telling you (and I’m putting this in all caps so you would pay attention to it!) NOT EVERYTHING WE DO IN SCOUTING LEADS TO A BADGE OR RANK – AS A MATTER OF FACT, VERY LITTLE WE DO IN SCOUTING LEADS TO A BADGE OR RANK — it is the *cumulative results* of those little things which leads to a merit badge or a rank advancement. That’s why it’s supposed to take time. That’s why its SCOUTING.

Thanks for sending your son to camp. Listen to him share his camp experiences — good and bad — with you. Pay attention to the songs he’s singing and instruct him that while he may have learned it from “the kids at camp”, in OUR home, that song don’t belong. Talk with your son’s Scoutmaster if the experience was less than good for your son. Ask him to call Meema or Opa and tell them about this time at camp. And SEND HIM BACK NEXT SUMMER TO CAMP SO THAT HE CAN GET EVEN MORE OUT OF THE EXPERIENCE than a couple of patches!

Thank you. You’ve helped reduce my email inbox some, but I can’t tell you the words to “Old Susan”. It was not allowed to be sung in my parent’s home either.


About Settummanque

Take your standard Oliver North. Add strong parts of Bill Cosby and Sir Robert Baden-Powell (the founder of Scouting). Throw in Johny Bravo without the "hurhhs!" and his pecks. Add a strong dose of parenting, the sexuality of a latin lover, and Mona Lisa's smile. And a 40 year old's body frame. That's me basically *grinning*
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