15 October 2008

i was a girl scout, but i wasn't prepared for this.

James came home yesterday waving a flier for Cub Scouts sign-ups. I was really hoping to avoid this scenario altogether, but since this is the second flier we've had sent home, in addition to seeing a sign-up booth at his school's open house a few weeks ago, apparently they've been advertising it so much that it's finally wormed its way into my son's consciousness, and he's decided that he wants to be a Cub Scout.

I'm conflicted. Greg and I are not fans of the larger Boy Scout organization because of their discrimination against gay people and atheists, not to mention the gender exclusivity. Yet the idea of James being able to socialize with other boys while participating in the kinds of outdoorsy, crafty, practical activities that we try to promote for our boys anyway is appealing to me. And it's very appealing to him.

I just spent some time with the Google trying to find alternatives to Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts that are open to anyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else, and such groups do exist (the Spiral Scouts and Campfire USA are two that looked good to me) but unfortunately there don't seem to be any chapters in our area.

So what to do? I guess I've already decided that despite its good qualities, Boy Scouting just doesn't measure up to all of my values. I just wish there were something to offer James in its place. I shouldn't worry, though; Greg was never a Boy Scout and he's the best outdoorsman I know. And he's already well on his way to teaching the boys how to enjoy and appreciate nature and the earth. So James may be disappointed by our refusal of Cub Scouting, but he won't be deprived. And, I suppose, with the additional things he'll learn from us about inclusion and acceptance, he'll be even better off.

1 comment:

kim said...

It sounds like you've already made up your minds, but I think the Cub Scouts would benefit a lot from tolerant kids like James subverting many of the values you disagree with from inside the organization. I agree with a lot of your concerns and am not sure what I'd do if it came up with my kids.