This seems to be the time of year in North America when adults, maybe it is adult males more than females (with females it may be winter time) when we as adults are often asked to pitch in to “help the kids”. By that of course they mean help the kids by coaching, leading, taking responsibility for, overnight camping etc. boys and girls in activities that interest them. I have been the recipient of many strong male role models outside my home and I think my sons have as well.
For instance, I was an Eagle Scout at age 13, and that never would have been possible without strong and consistent role models in my life. Certainly my mom’s illness meant that my dad was more away from the home than home a good deal of the time, and when he and mom were home they were tending to her every growing illness and frankly they just lacked the time to give me even ¼ of the opportunities I had in scouting.
Some of those included travel around the East Cost of the US, Several trips out west, attendance at a National Jamboree and as I said guidance by dozens of men and some women who took the time to help, be surrogate parents, or just watch after me, when watching after me would have been otherwise tough. So I have a deep appreciation for what many of these people gave up to help me along, keep me out of trouble and otherwise shape and guide me along the way. Because of my mother’s illness surrogates were important in my life.
With my sons, they had an interest in and a love of sports. I am a klutz. I never played sports; I was a full time 100% all in Boy Scout. So when my sons wanted to play Baseball in particular I had to hope I could find men and yes some women who would help them along and teach them the game. I was lucky I found some excellent coaches and if, my sons had fun playing I fun being an assistant coach. Once or twice getting hit in the head with a ball thrown in the wrong direction a fly ball I missed or punch back line drive that went straight at the umpire (me) at first base if I deserved anything, I deserved hazard pay. Being a non-baseball person learning with the kids was fun and again I was reliant on the men and yes some young men who took time to teach me and them the game.
Later in High School My oldest son switched to Football and again he found an excellent coach and I often say it was as much High School football that helped define my son’s career as an engineer as any training as an engineer he received in college. When he entered the football program as a sophomore (at a brand new school) after a miserable freshman year, we saw our son blossom into the young man and outstanding student he could be. Though he never played football in college (his college did not even have a football team) he went from being a middle of the road High school Student his freshman yeah to being in the top 20 graduates at his new High School and as an offensive lineman, he played alongside a future PHD chemist, two engineers and a fellow who is in charge of a plant manufacturing tennis clubs for Wilson and others. Yes football had a big impact on him becoming a science and math guy who now is a principal marketing and design manager for one of Nissan’s auto platforms.
Unfortunately there are just too few adults who want to and are capable of mentoring girls and boys in our world. That brings me in a roundabout way to the case of the Seattle Scout Master who was asked to leave Scouting because of his lifestyle. Here is a report from ABC NEWS Seattle about the issue:
To me it is upsetting that lifestyle is used as a criterion for adult leadership in scouting. I spent over 10 years associated with the Boy Scouts of America and I knew good and bad leaders. I know one scout leader very well who was convicted of molesting kids both while I was in his group, and after I left and I never ever want that happen again. The problem is lifestyle is not an indicator of abuse. So this issue is close to my heart. Lifestyle is not a good litmus test for any adult leader and as far as I know the Boy Scouts are the only group that judges adult leaders using this standard. To my knowledge it is not used at Diabetes Camps, it is not used by Big Brothers / Big Sisters, it is not even used by the church sponsor of this troop and it is not used by schools in selecting teachers. So yes I do have a different opinion than the organization I love so much on this issue.
But, instead of dwelling on that, let me tell you of one our young members who I am very proud of. Caren has applied for and I hope gets accepted as a CIT at a local diabetic camp this summer. She wants to do it so badly she was one of, if not the first applicant at her camp. I for one hope she is chosen and if not she and anyone else who wants to work at a D camps deserves our hearty applause. I am just thrilled we have a member who sees the advantage of helping kids, our community’s kids, this summer. She like all adults who work with kids is a treasure and a resource to be cherished.
Stop by Caren’s home page and say thanks she deserves our well wishes and hopes that she is successful:
Also if others from our organization are or have applied to serve kids this summer let us know so we can give you our support as well. Quality adult leaders are everyone’s responsibility and they deserve our support. We only get one chance with kids and we need leaders who are committed to the development of kids no exceptions, not even ones that are culturally based.