Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tuesday 14th June 2011 pt 2: A sad true story (allegedly)

The following was sent to me by a bloke who has, since he turned 40, tried to run more miles than Wile E Coyote's adversary.
Apparently it is true, at least Blokey says it is, and I have no reason to dis-believe him.............

"My 9 year old went away with the Cubs for the weekend just gone, and I have to say I was horrified by what I saw when I dropped him off and by what I heard when he got back.
I saw Scouts turning up not with neatly packed rucksacks and sleeping mats, but wheeling brightly coloured suitcases. Pillows strapped to the outside and a mother in tow clutching a bin bag full of duvet.
I saw a van, a shiny new van I might add, being piled high with luxuries the like of which I have never seen at a Scout hut. There were deep fat fryers, giant garden games, microwave ovens and even a portable television FFS.
When I dropped him off, they asked me for 3 quid for him to spend at the shop. The shop? What shop? Surely you're going to be in a field for the weekend? Where's the shop requirement? He's already got everything he needs, I know it because I helped him pack. He hasn't got half the stuff on your 'list' though, because I fail to see why he would "need" 3 pairs of shoes and 4 jumpers when he is only away for 48 hours. He also doesn't have shampoo and shower gel, because why on earth would he need a shower? I EXPECT and HOPE that he comes home wet, stinking and covered in mud. I'll be asking questions of you if he doesn't TBH
But of course I was disappointed, he came home smelling fresh with spotless clothes
and full of tales of chicken nuggets and chips for dinner and of small 3 man tents put up by the Leaders. He was also full of cake, because you stupidly asked each kid to bring a cake. So they did, but with the parents not wanting to be outdone by each other, they all ended up bringing enough cake for the whole troop. Result? He ate 7 cakes after lunch.
It just isn't Scouting, well not as I know it anyway.
I know the Scout Association has to evolve to survive. It must feel it has to offer modern luxuries on camp to even stand a hope of dragging it's members away from their Playstations or XBoxes for the weekend, but come on! You can do better than this! I understand that things can't be the same as when I was a Scout, the days of being dropped off in a field with three matches and a string of sausages are long gone - but surely we can do better than this?
At least encourage them to look the part. Ban the suitcases and duvets, if you have enough money for a spanky new van and mini bus, you have enough spare cash have a stock of rucksacks and sleeping bags, even if the parents can't afford them themselves at least then they can borrow from your supplies. Get rid of the microwaves and the depedency on electricity, it can be done I promise you. I have spent hundreds of nights under canvas both as a Scout and holidaying with my family and not once have I resorted to electricity.
You don't NEED deep fat fryers. Educate them on fire building and wood chopping - you'll just have to accept the risk that some of them will put the skills to ill use. Break them into groups and let them cook for themselves. Of course some of them will poisen themselves, but who cares? It's all part of the learning experience and they'll know better for next time.
If my kid came home saying he spent 6 hours throwing up undercooked sausages that he'd cooked himself, I'd be proud of him - at least he had the opportunity to try. Just as I would if he said he'd had no sleep the first night because it took them 11 hours to put their own tent up and the boy in the next sleeping bag wet himself. Brilliant son, next time hopefully you'll get it done in under 10. Lets hope so."

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