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Saturday, August 06, 2005 

sixteen, clumsy and shy

I didn’t make the eagle. I’m generally not motivated by awards and stuff, and besides, how far am I going to get if there is no merit badge for sarcasm? If some of it had been presented for the intrinsic benefits, I might have given it more of a go; but dangling a piece of cloth and the assurance that, one day, some beady-eyed manager was going to give me a job because I was an eagle scout—good heavens, I was way to lazy, way to rebellious to buy into that.

I’m almost stunned, I really had my eyes opened by posts and comments made by the women this week. I never really thought about how this stuff plays out differently for boys and girls. I’m sure in there somewhere, what with the effort to protect and enhance the innocence and spirituality of girls, the need to keep them protected from the evils of the world while the boys, a boy is just a scoundrel who must prove himself, eat rabbits and berries for a week and then build a dam and we throw a big party, because hooray! now he’s worth something!— that’s got to have enough material for at least one lengthy graduate thesis. Bottom line, the programs for boys and girls ought to be more equitable, especially the ceremonies honoring them.

So I never got my eagle. Even with all the stuff I’ve done since then, it still comes up from time to time and I think my parents are still disappointed. Maybe that’s part of why I’m ambivalent on the issue. I like the idea of learning things, doing service projects, engagement with spirituality. I’m not so hip on the structure (or I wasn’t then. For some reason, I think doing merit badges now, as an adult, would be kind of fun.) I was hoping more would be said about the girl scouts. I don’t know much about them, but from what little I’ve heard, if I had daughters I’d encourage them to get involved with the girl scouts.

Uhhh...I may incure the rath of many a girl scouter...but I don't know if I want my girls to do girl scouts. I was a brownie (the equivalent of a cub) for a couple of years and still have the poyester tunic and pants to prove it. My younger sister sister went on to girl scouts for a year or so and she should comment. I think Boy Scouts is cool, but I don't feel the same about Girl Scouts. You're the first person to bring this up this week...I wonder why...

I also didn't make it past brownies, but my niece and some girls in my ward have done girl scouts and from what I can tell they have some great adventures. I don't know about the acheivement aspect, but what they do is similar to the boy scouts. I also think it is better that it is not connected to the church.

It seems to me that boys get too much pressure within the religion to succeed in scouts. If someone one feels connected and motivated to the program that is great, if not, they should not be made to feel like they are less. There are so many other ways to excel. Each should find their own way.

My point of view on scouting...
I didn't make eagle myself, nor did I care, for reasons that many won't understand - although I am willing to share them. I grew up in a small town, and nobody got eagle where I lived except the 'role models' which were about 1 every 2 years between the 2 local scout packs. I saw them as superficial and artificial as they come, and using the badge as something to show who they were. "I'm Joe Schmoe, the Eagle Scout." Well, I never encouraged myself to think it charming to state "I'm Dustin, the Eagle Scout". Rest assured, however, as troop quartermaster, I gladly took the troop's food and fire supplies, adding another 20 pounds into my pack compared to everybody else's. I grilled everyone's burgers, and washed the pots and pans after chow time.
I learned the knots, how to swim well, how to use a knife and axe, and how to create a nice campsite, leaving it always a little better than when I got there. Many of the things I've learned could have gotten me the eagle merit, but I didn't want it. And truthfully, when I know someone 'did' make Eagle, I would always challenge them to competition and realize that I could still beat them. They're not super-human, and they're no better than anybody else.
Applied to the world, authoritive figures, police officers, judges, presidents and CEOs are all just normal people that have earned thier 'Eagle', and so I enjoy challenging them as normal everyday people.
The scouting programs are great for kids that want to be included, but then again, so is afterschool basketball, video games, choir, baseball, or other sport or group activities.
Don't get me wrong, girl scout cookies taste real good, and there's occasion when I could down a whole box of mint chocolate cookies...as long as I had a lot of milk to drink along with it, but I don't know what it is the girl scouts are doing with the money they're making...scouting is supposedly a non-profit deal.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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