Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Spiral Scouts Oh my!

“Hey mom, can I join Boy Scouts?”

This was a day I had dreaded.

I’d heard about the Boy Scouts.

After all, I grew up with two brothers who were both in boy scouts for a number of years. I had friends whose sons were in boy scouts and it always seemed like a great idea. But then there were those rumors and the discrimination overtones and frankly, it frightened me off. Would my little boy join only to be kicked out because he was not Christian?

Turns out there are LOTS of pagan kids who are members of the Boy Scouts – the key seems to be in the leaders. The kids who I know are in, well their parents are running it. Or as my friend
Matt says, “We are correcting the issue one pack at a time. Our pack welcomes everyone.” And that seems true of most of them.

Well, my son hasn’t joined because:

1. We haven’t found a good group around here, though he has gone and participated with some events with his friends.

2. Because it’s not just religious intolerance but also social intolerance.

However, some things to remember: adults and parents are looking at boy scouts differently than the boys are. We see the overall portrait of the Boy Scouts, the big picture. But we sometimes miss what it teaches on a small scale. Friendship, survival, independence. So much like so many other things in this world, the Boy Scouts comes down to a choice. Let your son try it out, interview the different troops. Trust yourself as a parent and that you have raised your child to have good values. Also, remember that many boys choose not to stay in the troop more than a few years.

Girl Scouts – this one I have significantly fewer issues with. My husband says “If you’re willing to sell cookies, Girl Scouts are willing to have you!” Well the real reason I don’t have an issue is this note attached to The Girl Scout Promise:

“Girl Scouts of the USA makes no attempt to define or interpret the word ‘God’ in the Girl Scout Promise. It looks to individual members to establish for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs. When making the Girl Scout Promise. Individuals may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs for the word ‘God’”.
Also, there doesn’t seem to be any purpose other than to teach girls independence and learning.

There is also Spiral Scouts. This group is much less widely known and its often hard to find a group in your area. Myself and many other people have thought to start a group only to be stymied by how difficult it can be to find information or other interested people.

So in the end, joining Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts has to be a decision that both you and your children are interested in. Remember that what your children will see and what you will take from it the experience will be different because of your ages and experience. And remember that you can always stop being part of the group.