Saturday, October 24, 2009

Scouting Saturday: William and Arrow of Light

Okay, I did not take the camera camping.  I'm sorry!

But an update on the camping trip is definitely in order.  It was fun.  It was cold, of course.  But it was a lot of fun.  I had a good time.  It was weird being the only female.  But the guys (scouts and dads) were all pretty good about that.  But what is it about male chromosomes and the need to tell jokes with punchlines involving bodily functions???? Best joke of the weekend... from a dad... Why doesn't anyone want to be friends with Tigger?  Because he's always playing with Pooh.

William had a fabulous time, and he finished off his outdoorsman activity badge -- which means he has earned all 20 of the activity badges.  He set this goal last spring, and was so proud of himself for accomplishing it.

Let's back up.  Last year, he made the decision not to complete his Webelos badge for the Blue & Gold ceremony, because nobody else in his den had earned it yet, and he didn't want to be the only one.  Well, the kids in his den weren't doing a whole lot, actually, towards earning Webelos, so he finally did complete the last requirement and was the only one at the April pack meeting to earn Webelos.  The rest of his den earned their rank advancement at the last meeting for the schoolyear, at the end of May.

It was at the point where he went ahead and earned Webelos without them that he decided he wanted to earn all 20 activity badges as of the October pack meeting -- and Arrow of Light too.  I tried to encourage him to do things with his den instead of working on everything on his own.  But he had a goal, and in the end, I had to support it.  Though I told him I will not find time to work on his scout stuff unless he gets his schoolwork done without a hassle, and his attitude about school has been 1000% better.

Over the summer, he got involved a fair amount with the Boy Scouts -- working on an Eagle project, hanging out in the back at the Boy Scout meetings, working with Connor on some things like First Aid and knot tying.  And he started thinking he wanted to not just earn all 20 badges and earn Arrow of Light, but that he was really ready to be a Boy Scout.  We prayed about it, told him we'd think about it, but we certainly weren't making a decision.

So, this fall, he completed those one or two things he needed to do to finish most of the activity badges.  He sat down and demonstrated the first aid skills he's been working on.  He even went back through some of the badges he had already earned and completed more of the requirements, above and beyond those he had done to earn it.  And he has completed the 'homework' given in his den for work towards activity badges he has already earned. (I made him do that before working on his own things.)

The week before the camping trip, we were still discussing what he should do... stay with his den, or bridge to Boy Scouts.  We had a pretty even list of pros and cons going, and no decision was made.

The camping trip though, wow.  He was right in there, acting like a Boy Scout.  He was asking the patrol leader what he could do to help, he was pretty consistently a part of the action.  I watched his behavior, and he was just "lit up" the entire weekend.  He's thrilled to be camping, he thrilled to be cooking.  He respected the boundaries and didn't try to be wielding an axe, nor did he try to be putting wood on the fire. (Boy Scouts need to get through special training before they are supposed to be doing those things, and William knows he hasn't completed that, and was mature enough to realize that his turn is coming.  Just not on this trip.)

I was totally impressed.  But still... February isn't that far away, and I've been encouraging him to stick it out with Cub Scouts.  (I'm just not old enough to have two children who are Boy Scouts!!!  Well, uhhh, yeah, I know I am.)

This past week, we got together to do his last Arrow of Light requirement -- a Scoutmaster Conference with the scoutmaster (that would be the adult leader) of the troop  he wants to join.  That conference was fabulous.  Mr. H. is totally open to William crossing over whenever he wants to, and he doesn't think any of William's dyslexia-related issues are going to cause any problems at all.  He gave him fantastic advice about being "his own scout" and not just following in his big brother's shadow.

William told him he plans to make Eagle by age 13 or 14.  He told him he wants to make Tenderfoot by the first Court of Honor (he can't do that -- there are a couple requirements he simply cannot earn by then.)  He told me that he wants to earn all 121 merit badges.  (YIKES!!)  I told him that he needs to focus on First Class first.  Then he can focus on Eagle.  Then he can decide if he wants to earn all those merit badges.  The scoutmaster, without hearing the merit badges comment, also encouraged him to focus on all those great skills necessary for First Class, and then to think about merit badges.  William seemed to buy it coming from him, instead of "just Mom" and her silly ideas!

So... sometime in the next week, I am going to be the mom of two boy scouts.  We even signed him up for the Merit Badge College that is coming up in a few weeks.  Fingerprinting, Crime Prevention and Photography.  He's thrilled.  (He's been trying to convince Connor that the two of them should work on Photography together.  Connor has NO interest.)


Johanna said...

I think it's wonderful when children, especially in that tweener age, find something they love so much that they are self motivated. It sounds like William will be a great Boy Scout!

Debra said...

Thanks, Johanna! That is so sweet. I think he's going to do great too, whether *I* am ready for this or not.

Tess said...

Oh Debra!!! Wow! I remember when William set that goal. and I remember thinking that's going to be struggle and it might be too much for him. It is so fantastic and so encouraging to see how hard and diligently he worked to achieve his goal.

Debra said...

Tess -- amazing, isn't it? I didn't think he'd get there. He really worked at a bunch, but didn't finish any of the activity badges... While I'm not ready to have two boy scouts, I am ready for the even more hands-off on my part aspect of Boy Scouts. I'll spend the next few months focused on my Bear scout. Connor has a scoutmaster conference tonight too... but *that* will be the subject of a post next week.