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Friday, January 4, 2008

Put the kids FIRST!

Sometimes, growing up in the world of Boy Scouting, I've run across adults who make the hair on that back of my neck stand straight up. I will be discreet and not mention those names. You know who you are and you know I'm talking about you.

Those of you who irritate me the most are those of you who don't put the kids first, but put higher value in your own personal agendas. I've seen too many of you approve boys for Eagle Scout just because it makes you look good. Some of those boys didn't qualify in dedication or character for that particular rank. These are boys whom you have held their hand during an entire scouting career. They are the same boys who now aren't making any difference in society because they are still relying on you to hand them everything. You make me sick.

There are others of you who decide its a good idea to reject the idea of another just because the project doesn't mean anything to you. As a result, someone in your own community suffered because the idea that you rejected didn't happen. You make me even more sick. If something is good for the community, let the creator of the idea run with it. You might just like the end result of the encouragement you gave. You make by stomach churn.

Others of you can't be bothered to encourage anyone else at all. Why? Largely because what others bring to the table doesn't fit within your perfect box. These people generally come to you with mountains of excitement wrapped up in a very raw mustard seed of desire. Mustard seeds are small. They are one of the smallest seeds of any plant. However, they produce a very lovely, fruitful, useful crop. You see several factors in this situation. You see the other person as a threat to your position. Because you lead not by example or growth, but by position and submission, the talents of others are seen as a threat instead of something to be nurtured. You are not capable of encouragement because the dreams of others might interfere with your plans. You find it better to squash everything that doesn't look flashy and perfect. It doesn't look sweet, smell sweet, or fit in your box, therefore it is a threat and needs to be eliminated. This is the number one reason adults don't volunteer to work with you. You make me throw up.

There are some of you out there who decide to route program funding to your pet projects. We have enough problems with this in government. How is your behavior any different. All this does is lead to other people feeling rejected. If you are willing to fund one, fund all. I see this issue rise to greater annoyances in the ScoutReach program more than anywhere else. I work with a ScoutReach pack in the Westpark community in Bremerton. Scout reach is a program within BSA that is intended to bring the Boy Scout program to at-risk communities. Everything done for these kids comes from volunteers and a few paid employees of BSA. No support whatsoever comes from the parents of these kids. These kids come to us from homes where lurid values are present. Video games and television are the majority influence for the kids we service. Most of these families live on welfare aid. We try to minister to every family we can.

Funding in Chief Seattle Council for ScoutReach gets routed to King and Snohomish counties before Kitsap, Jefferson and Mason counties receive anything. Any money we raise in donations in Kitsap County get routed to Seattle; we are supposed to be grateful for getting 10% or less of any of that cash. We are struggling to purchase supplies. Most of our boys get older editions of books, used uniforms, and cheaper program. It takes money to run a program fro Cub Scouts. It takes even more money to operate a program that follows the Cub Scout program itself. All too often, lack of funding leaves some of these ScoutReach units turning into arts and crafts hours.

What money there is, comes out of personal pockets for these kids in Kitsap County. Our local ScoutReach Director is already pushing the $1000 mark buying uniforms, books, and supplies for kids all across Kitsap County. Our ScoutReach Cub Scout Pack in Westpark has been in existence for thirteen years, and has hit well over $1000 per year. Field trips don't happen for us, we have no money to go anywhere. We're not asking for gas compensation; we're asking for assistance with admissions into the places we want to go. I know expenses can be deducted from income taxes, but to what point do we draw the line? How much of our personal income do we give up for these kids? As living expenses rise, our ability to purchase supplies diminishes. To see other units in King County receive FULL funding FOR TRIPS TO CANADA makes us wonder who is really important. Unequal funding is only penalizing what these kids receive. Placing some kids as more important than others is not what I thought scouting is about.

It is those of you who make me sick that have helped hinder the mission established by the founders of BSA. If the mission of BSA is to develop boys into the men of society, what are you doing by placing restraints upon others? If your personal mission in Scouting is to develop people who will make the world a better place, my question to you is this: Are you actions and words helping these boys become great people who will make the world of their generation a better place for everyone?

I would like to know how dictating directions, rejecting ideas and differences, funding of pet projects while letting other projects suffer makes you a better person. Are you truly setting the example of what you are expecting boys to become. are you coming together as a team for the common good of the lives of these kids, or are you putting your personal interests first.

Scouting should be a ministry for developing a better world through people. Make your priority the kids. Encourage everything that carries any benefit to the community. Look past your own box of dreams and promote the dreams of others. Your community will find scouting to be the greatest youth organization available.

I'll close with this: I was once asked when my son was still an infant why I was involved with Scouting. I responded, after giving this question some in depth thought, with this: On the surface, there's no real reason for me to be involved with Cub Scouting. My son was not old enough for the program ( now he's too old for Cub Scouting). the only real reason I have to volunteer my time and money, is the knowledge that if I can take one kid off the street or out of a broken home, give that child a better view on life through Scouting, then I've done my duty to God and my Country. Putting kids first is most important.

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