A week or so ago, GorT came across his old merit badge sash from when he was a boy scout*. Since then I have been mulling over doing a series of posts on Scouting in general and some of the merit badges based on in-person and Twitter conversations.
First, a few thoughts and one opinion on Scouting:
- Scouting has a parallel to our federal system of government: there is a national organization that is composed of many local councils that serve as the organizing group for a geographic region (I was a scout and currently live in the NCAC – National Capital Area Council, which actually encompasses most of the Washington, DC metro area plus the US Virgin Islands and US citizens abroad in North and South America) and each council has many troops – the group that is your immediate organizing unit. Each council and troop does things a bit differently, but operate within the parameters set by the national level organization.
- A boy’s experience with scouting is hugely dependent on the local troop (or “pack” for Cub Scouts) and parental involvement. I count myself lucky that both were in place for my experience – I had a very active troop and parents who were supportive, involved, and pushed me to do my best. Unfortunately, my son’s experience with the local Cub Scout pack wasn’t good (nor was my experience at the adult level).
- Opinion: politics shouldn’t be mixed with Boy Scouts. Don’t look for political positions from them and don’t impose them upon the organizations. The Boy Scouts are a group aimed at teaching and growing young boys into young men with useful skills and admirable traits.
To orient those unfamiliar, boys enter Boy Scouts at the rank of “Scout” and progress through six ranks: Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. A number of your Gormogons are involved in scouting – GorT earned Eagle and a number of additional merit badges. When I was a scout, we had “belt loop skills” to earn as well – there was a total of 12 available and I think 8 were required. Over the years, the requirements for Eagle have been relatively stable at 21 merit badges (12 required), a service project, and other scouting knowledge and skills.
In subsequent posts, GorT will talk about various aspects of his scouting experience and merit badges. Some of the other Gormogons might jump in with their views.
* Of course with the recent packing for college, I can’t find it right now, but I’ll add a picture later