Welcome New Scout Moms
By Stephanie Hube
Mother of Tristan and Colin Hube
Hello and welcome to BSA Troop 48. My name is Stephanie and I am a parent to two boys in Troop 48. It is challenging to raise kids in today’s environment that is wired for instant gratification. My goal is to raise boys who will become God-loving, civic minded, respectful, productive, independent citizens. Scouting is one of the tools to achieving this goal.
Cub Scouts is familiar territory for mothers. It wasn’t long ago that I was in your shoes. I cried when my last Cub Scout crossed over into Boy Scouts. We have such fond memories together of Pinewood Derby, Cumberland Caverns, Kia Kima, the Christmas Parade, Blue and Gold Banquets, and of course, fun campouts and popcorn. Our Cub Scout Den was like family, and I wish that we still had our annual cook out!
However, I had heard that Boy Scouts is very different from Cub Scouts. When we were visiting troops, there were teenage boys in high school. I was worried about my fifth grader being around teenagers. There were no moms around! There were lots of men who told me that the boys led the troop! I didn’t really believe that. I looked at my fifth grader and thought “I like the values and skills that scouting teaches. I also want him to be an Eagle Scout, but I don’t know if I’m ready for all this. “ He just looked so little compared to everyone else.
There is a very important place for moms in Scouting. As mothers and sons, we are both at a crossroads in our relationship. We need to mature into mothers of men vs. moms of boys. Boys need protecting; men protect others. Boys depend on their parents; men have others who depend on them. Boys are dependent; men are independent. Now is the time for us to do what our boys need to do – grow and mature.
So what does this mean for us as Scout moms? It means that we must allow our sons to both fail and succeed on their own merit. If your Scout fails to pack his stuff in a waterproof bag on the canoe trip, your Scout is going to be a little wet for the entire trip. What your Scout forgot to pack on one trip won’t be forgotten on the next trip. Don’t forget, many a good camp story is based on what went wrong! Conversely, you must allow them to succeed on their own merits and in their own time. It is important that they take pride and ownership of their accomplishments. Scouting is meant to be an adventure where the boys try new things and explore the world around them. The experience of both the highs and the lows are what bonds the boys together – often resulting in lifelong friendships.
Boy Scout Troop 48 is full of responsible, respectful men of character who dedicate many hours of free time to helping our boys grow into men. These men want to see the boys mature into responsible adults. It is good preparation for the real world for these boys to be held accountable by other men. These volunteers are also terrific role models for Scouts outside their immediate family. As a mother, if you have a desire to be active in Troop 48, there are many volunteer opportunities at the committee level. It is important for us to focus our energy as moms into making Troop 48 the best it can be.
To sum it up, a boy’s journey to Eagle is in the growing, and a mother’s journey is in the letting go. Today there is a new term, the “boomerang” kids. For whatever reason, these kids have had a failure to launch. I think that it would be a disservice to our sons as well as ourselves to create another generation of “boomerang” kids. This can be a challenge, but we owe it to our sons and their future lives beyond school and scouting.
My Two Cents: Why it’s OK to Wait Until Age 17 to Earn Eagle
So you earned Eagle at age 17. (Or was it 17.5? Or 17.9?)
The point is you made it. You’re an Eagle Scout for life.
I know your parents, leaders and fellow Eagle Scouts are extremely proud of you.
I also know that as a 17-year-old Eagle, you might have heard from an adult or two along the way who asked what was taking so long. You realize this window closes at 18, they reminded you.
I recently heard from a young man whose board of review began with this misguided question: “Why did you wait to age 17 to finish all your requirements?”
Timeout. While I commend your fellow Eagle Scouts who earned their badge at 13, 14 or 15, those 16- and 17-year-old Eagle Scouts impress me just as much.
Especially because, as I’m told again and again from Eagle Scouts I respect, earning Scouting’s highest honor has never been harder.
You saw Scouting as a journey, not a race.
There are some young men who become Eagle Scouts at 14 or 15 and stay active in the troop until they age out at 18. (Or, cooler still, move to Venturing until they’re 21.) These guys are awesome — and often have the Eagle Scout palms to prove it.
But then there are young men who earn Eagle in their early teens and disappear. We call this going “Eagle and out,” and while these guys still earned an incredibly difficult award, they left before some of their prime Scouting years.
I’m saying that the journey to getting Eagle is just as cool as the destination.
And if you took the scenic route? Good for you. In Scouting, there’s a lot of great scenery out there.
You’re in the majority.
Earlier this year I shared the average age of 2015 Eagle Scouts: 17.34.
The majority, like you, held on until that 18th birthday loomed. My limited math skills tell me you don’t get to an average of 17.34 without a few 17.9s in the mix.
And while you members of the 17.9 Club are responsible for a few of your parents’ gray hairs, you should be commended for squeezing every drop out of the Scouting program.
You lived Scouting to the fullest.
As a 17-year-old Eagle Scout, your priorities probably went like this:
Good for you!
If I could offer advice to a new Boy Scout, it’d be this: Go camping. Make friends. Check out a high-adventure base. Try your hand at a leadership role. Attend the jamboree. Earn some merit badges.
Advancement is important, but I see it as a byproduct of Scouting adventure. In doing those things above, you’ll naturally progress through the ranks toward Eagle.
And as you enjoy those Scouting experiences, you’ll see they get better with age. Trust me.
I went on two Philmont treks as a Scout. On the first, I was 14; on the second, I was 17. My mental and physical abilities grew in those three intervening years, and the second trek was even more rewarding than the first.
Same goes for leadership positions. Can you imagine serving as senior patrol leader at 13 or 14? Sure, some have met that challenge, but the majority find leadership roles more meaningful in their later Scouting years.
You’re more well-rounded than ever.
Scouting, school, sports, church, friends, homework — and that’s just Monday night. Sound familiar?
Scouts like you are pulled in a million directions these days. But still, with a calendar crammed with commitments, you managed to stick with it.
And how impressive will that look to a college admissions counselor or hiring manager?
They’ll look at a long list of extracurriculars — with Eagle Scout at the top — and know you’re ready for the challenges of college or the workplace.
One thing they won’t see: how old you were when you earned Eagle.
You earned an award that’s getting harder to earn.
I’ve been fortunate enough to talk to some accomplished Eagle Scouts, and I like to ask them this: How does earning Eagle today compare with earning Eagle when you were a Scout?
So far, they all think it’s harder. Check out two quotes from interviews in upcoming issues of Eagles’ Call magazine:
Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines: “There’s just a lot more competition for their time. Kids have to grow up a lot quicker than they did I think when I was young.”
Robert Gates, 2014-2016 BSA president and former defense secretary: “First of all, they’re not getting the same Eagle Scout award that I got. In contrast to so many things in life today, getting your Eagle today is a lot harder than it was when I became an Eagle.”
You’re an Eagle Scout.
OK, I’ve rambled on long enough. I’ll leave you with this:
Thirteen? Seventeen? Doesn’t matter. You lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law. You earned 21 merit badges. You helped lead your fellow Scouts. You gave back to the community with a giant service project.
You did it. And you’re a better-prepared man because of it.
November 23, 2014
From the Bryan on Scouting blog - What’s the difference between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts?
If your son was a Cub Scout then check out this article:
March 28, 2013
"What I Wish Every Scout Parent Understood" by Clarke Green.