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I'm Proud To Be a Parent of a Boy Scout

In a world dominated by sports and the belief that you have the next golden child, Scouting teaches there is more to life than just winning.

Disclaimer: This is my own individual opinion and has nothing to do, not even a teeny bit, with the Seekonk School Committee.

As my kids grew up, they became active in the different town activities. We started early on with soccer. There is a certain enjoyment in watching 5-year-olds running around a field, zig-zagging to wherever a ball is. They are not in the least bit concerned yet on where the ball actually might be be going. With three kids, soccer became the sport of choice. It is short and easy; after an hour it is all over. There is no overtime.

The family became more involved in soccer as they grew older. I went from being a coach to running the town program. It was a rewarding experience and two of the kids still play. My youngest tired of the sport and wanted to try something different. At first I tried bowling with him. We concluded in a very short period of time that it was just not meant to be. Next he wanted to try Scouting.

Though I am one of six brothers, there was little experience in Scouting for our family. I vaguely recall one younger brother wearing a blue Cub Scout uniform with a yellow bandana.

Being a person with a limited amount of time on my hands, I was quite concerned about his forage into Scouting. It took only one trip to realize what a great choice this was for my child. Since starting last year, we have explored the river channel locks by bicycle outside of Albany, learned the art of cold weather camping (I was one step ahead of him with that thanks to the military), hiked and watched him learn how to use a compass and a knife, and canoed together. The canoeing took a bit of work, but we only capsized three times before we got our system down. I still carry some bruises on my legs from being dragged across the river bed, but it was all good.

The trips have been fun and the character development great to watch, but two things have set Scouting apart from any of the sporting events that the family participates in. One of his obligations has been to deliver groceries from Doorways to needy people. He has done this several times and I think it has taught him a lot about having a role in helping your community. The other was for Memorial Day. His troop visited the local cemeteries and replaced all of the worn U.S. flags. This taught him respect for those who served our country.

Both the kids and parents involved work as a team. There is none of the yelling or micromanaging that I see in the sporting activities. The most distinct difference I see is that parents are not just worried about their child and what their involvement is. Instead, everyone works together to build all of the kids' skills, teaching them the value of civics, and making them into effective contributors to society. I am proud to be a parent of a Boy Scout.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

deb of see-attleboro June 09, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Great piece, Dave! I agree with you 100%. Scouting is very rewarding. Even though some people are not suited to the activities, there is flexibility. I think setting aside the intensity of competive sports is essential to a well-rounded, tolerant, enlightened individual.
The Grinch June 09, 2011 at 11:59 PM
As a parent I dont need boy scouts to raise and teach my children to be well rounded and contributing members of the community/society. Was involved in scouts for many years and they did the same things year after year. Just my oppinion and experience.
Tara Bisson August 07, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Unfortunately our experience with scouting was an unpleasant one. If you do not fit the cookie cutter "boy scout" they choose to exclude you. At least in competitive sports you find volunteers with the patience to teach, mentor and sculpt young adults without prejudice. I cannot say the same for the Boy Scouts, I am disappointed with our experience with them....and they should be ashamed of their lack of caring for the youth of out community.
deb of see-attleboro August 07, 2011 at 11:45 PM
Our family had a similar experience with youth sports. This was one experience with one horrible soccer coach. And it wasn't in Seekonk. But we didn't give up.
Elliot Gault August 13, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Disclaimer: I am in no way a spokesperson for the BSA or Scouting in Seekonk. Im just an active member of the BSA who was hurt by some of the comments left on this blog. I'd like to start off by saying Mr. Abbott this was a great article! I'm an Assistant Scoutmaster for a local boy scout troop, and I'm extremely pationate about scouting. Like most I started scouting as a youth and ever since I started I couldn't get enough. I started in cub scouts and progressed through Boy Scouts and am a proud Eagle Scout. My journey in scouts has taken me camping in the deep woods, hiking in New Mexico, to leadership seminars all across the country, and even to a Jamboree with 50,000 other scouters. I felt as a pationate scout that I should respond to a bloggers comments about "cookie cutter scouts". There is absolutely no such thing. Scouting excepts all boys (girls in venture scouts) regardless of religion, nationality, or disibility. Scouting takes youth and forms them into strong productive citizens and provides them with life skills some kids would get no where else. I also think there is more to Miss. Bison's story that she is leaving out. Scouting is a 100 year old program that has influened the lives of millions of youth all for the better. No other organization cares for youth as much as scouting does, So never ever give scouts a bad rep, every leader involved tirelessly dedicates their time to each and every youth so that they can have some of the best experiences ever.

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