When I was a kid, I was a Brownie for a year. And I enjoyed it for about 3 days.
In hindsight, I think it’s because my troop never seemed to do anything interesting. Now my brothers were in Cub Scouts and they always seemed to have fun, but not my group of Brownies. I just remember sitting in a circle for an hour and talking at the Scout leader’s house. Sure, we occasionally did crafts, which was great. I liked making my little faux-leather change purse with its little beads, but the purpose of some of the other things completely escaped me. They really lost me when we made a “sit-upon” (a rectangle woven out of lawn chair webbing) so that you could sit on the ground with it. All I could think of was why on earth would I sit upon this crunchy rectangle that pinched my legs when I would obviously be more comfortable in a chair. Yeah, I was that kid.
So it was with a little trepidation that I signed up my kids for Scouting after much pleading and begging on their part. But oh my, how times have changed!
Take this past weekend for example. On Saturday, E and I met up with the rest of her troop to go bird watching at a local park. You may not think that is terribly exciting, but you must understand — my daughter is into animals. We’ve read every nonfiction book on every kind of animal in the Children’s section in the library. She wants to be a marine biologist or a veterinarian. So bird watching? Right up her alley.
There were three guides from the local bird watching club and they gave out little books with 188 different types of birds usually seen in our area. The girls got checklists to mark off the birds that they saw:
And more importantly…. BINOCULARS!
We wandered around for almost two hours, scrambling around trees and listening to different bird calls. We saw something like 15 different types of birds, including a red-headed woodpecker, a red-bellied woodpecker, chickadees, a blue jay, a purple martin, a couple red-winged blackbirds (who were total show-offs, swooping around over the girls’ heads), and a wild turkey. That poor turkey gobbled and strutted around until the Brownies got too close, and then he freaked out and practically jogged away. Have you ever seen a real turkey trot? Hysterical. E loved it.
C also got in some Cub Scouting time this weekend when his den decided to go geocaching. (I know! Where was this when I was a kid?) My husband S told me that real geocaching is probably a bit too tricky for second graders, but using an app called Geocaching.com, the kids get to use a map (not just GPS coordinates) to find the caches. (A side note: at $9.99, it seems a little expensive to me, but thank goodness for iTunes gift cards!) There were three different “hunts” at a local forest preserve and they had a blast wandering around and scouring the area once they got close to a cache. C and S had so much fun that we’re going to take the kids searching for the other two local geocaches during summer break.
Sometimes, being a parent is completely no fun (and I think we all know exactly when those are!) and then there are times when you get to relive your childhood all over again with your kids. I never would have thought I would enjoy Scouting, but it’s been a riot getting to see my kids try new things and love them.
What about you? Were you a Scout as a kid? Did you love it or hate it? Are you into Scouting now? Or do you tolerate it for the cookies? 🙂