Thursday, October 25, 2012

No time for fun, we'll be late for fun

Warning: Rant ahead.

Bath Rock, City of Rocks National Reserve, ID, where I learned to rappel on a Spring Break camp out.
Bath Rock,
City of Rocks Nat'l Reserve, ID
It seems like no one has time to go to fun places, because weekends are already all taken up by classes, leagues and the other stuff that parents pay for (the real question is, how many LDS parents would pay for their sons to be involved in Scouting if the Church didn't foot the bill?*).  And living on the Wasatch Front, all the cool places are at least an hour's drive, usually much more, so you can't go camping somewhere great and make the early-morning game without skipping breakfast.

Hoodoos at Goblin Valley State Park, UT - this reminded my children of Peter Pan and the pirate ship.
Sandstone hoodoos,
Goblin Valley State Park, UT
© 2011 Eric Larson
I can remember having free weekends as a kid, so I could go to fun places like these to play with my friends (my parents didn't put me into leagues or such, we couldn't afford it; they expected me to attend the monthly camp outs, and I wanted to do that anyway).  And even if it was a four-hour drive, it received the support of parents and the bishopric.  I think the lack of enthusiasm stems partially from their being bored with "camping" within sight of home, but more especially never being told that they can pick way cooler places; they just go where they're told, when they go anywhere at all.  No wonder they lose interest at 12!  (Never mind that "I turned 14 and don't 'do' Scouting anymore".)

Mt. Magog and White Pine Lake, Wasatch-Cache National Forest. This is my favorite spot on the planet.
White Pine Lake,
Wasatch-Cache NF
© Scott T. Smith &
Utah Travel Council
Maybe I'm just bummed that it started snowing today, and nice weather won't return until late June next year.  Maybe this lament is just my dissatisfied response to the three-camp-outs-for-11YOS rule (and the dads-must-go-camping-with-11YOS pseudo-rule, tying us to a 15-mile leash).  Maybe it's just that kids today (crap, did I say that?  I'm only 36!) are too busy for Scouting.  The answer is D, of course, all of the above, but it's the kids who really get short-changed.  I guess that's to be expected when the objective is just a lame cloth patch...

Anyway, here's a short, incomplete list of places I’d recommend to my 11YO/New Scouts if I didn't feel like I'd be stepping on too many toes:

<End Rant>

On the other hand, we're going camping tomorrow, 5 11YOs, two adult leaders and a pair of dads.  The boys wrote their own duty roster at patrol meeting last night, with no prompting from me!  Success!!

Prepared. | For Life.™
*No, I don't think kids should be on a steady diet of just Scouting, any more than they should consume only basketball or any other single thing (bread alone, right?), and yes, there are many, many more factors to consider.  These are the factors I'm thinking about today.

Prepared. | For Life.™


Brian Reyman said...

Agree with the post - sometimes folks don't have enough skin in the game to appreciate what they have. On top of that, our Stake applies a 4-hour driving limit to us (granted, we live semi-close to some great places, but even those get worn out eventually).

One comment:
"Maybe I'm just bummed that it started snowing today, and nice weather won't return until late June next year."

Don't forget winter outings! Sledding and snowshoeing can introduce us to some amazing places - and they're fun. Looking for a unique and challenging campout? Go in the winter. It takes more training and preparation, but it can be very rewarding. Don't wait until next summer to get back out.

Tory said...

Agree 100%!

It always amazed me when I talked with my boys and asked them what they really wanted. They always said "more camping" and yet when we would plan a camping trip, they either wouldn't come because of something more important or insisted they had to be home early.

Eric the Half-bee said...

Brian, it's not so much the winter, I was just bummed walking to the bus in the snow for work this morning. (Friends in my old neighborhood in Falcon, CO had it worse, though) :(

We have monthly outside winter activities planned, but I opt for the overnighters to be during warmer weather. Since 11YOS don't get but three camps/year, I want to ensure as much as possible that the experiences will be great; inexperienced, frozen kids are less likely (I think) to want to repeat the experience later. They can ham it up at the Klondike next year, after they get some practice in a more benign environment.

I often wonder why headquarters/handbook 2 implies our Mormon boys are less capable than their Methodist (etc) counterparts who have no such restrictions. We expect them to "go and do" great things at 19, er, 18, but officially their preparation is hamstrung by policies that prevent them from practicing doing great things. (I wonder if LDS Scouting has "too many chiefs and not enough Indians".)

Evenspor said...

I know how you feel. Lately I have gotten tired of hearing about our area's sacred cow - soccer. Everyone does soccer, and it trumps all. Heaven forbid you plan a Saturday activity during soccer season (actually, it's more like any activity during soccer season, regardless of date or time).

I have no problem, in theory, with soccer or families doing it if it fits their schedule. But, as my husband has taken to saying, "The Lord didn't institute soccer as the activity program for boys." If the choice has to be between the Lord's program and sports, well...

(There's my rant to add to yours. Glad to get that off my chest.)

Brian Reyman said...

@ Eric - good points. Using those few nights for more traditionally summer-based activities is probably wise. Doing monthly outings (not campouts) is great! Not many 11-year-old leaders help support that. I'm not exactly sure why more campouts aren't allowed...

@Evenspor - while soccer is not quite as sacred in our area, scouts does always seem to come last (instead of being mixed in). Our YM president has a great quote from a talk given by an area 70 a few years back when speaking about a very similar topic and how their family responded to pressures for their sons to play more competitive soccer leagues which competed with church and other important responsibilities.

"I'm not raising a soccer player. I'm raising a missionary."

If only more families heeded that kind of counsel through their actions.