I had a great time this weekend and it had nothing to do with scouting or the outdoors but it did clarify why I'm frustrated with boy scouts. I went to a class reunion and had a great time reminiscing over all the adventures we had. As teenagers we were thrown together with people from all over the world and put in a place that was completely different from what we were used to. We had to figure it out, it didn't always work out, but we ended up with incredible memories and we learned how to solve problems. All in all everyone said it was a great experience.
It all reminded me of what scouts should be. Granted, learning how to not get lost in the woods is a bit different than getting lost in an old market where nobody speaks any language you're familiar with, but there are similarities. The big difference seems to be our parents vs us. When we were kids our parents let us do a lot more. Once my mom took me and a friend and our bikes to Calais and dropped us off. We told her we were going to take the fairy across the channel, ride our bikes to Stonehenge and we'd call her up when we got back. She was fine with it. We didn't call her for a week.
I started asking my classmates if they let their kids do what we did and the responses were either hell no, or you could just see the light come on and they'd just say oh. There were a few people that encouraged their kids to do what we did. We set slightly tighter boundaries and made sure they knew how to get out of trouble, but we eventually pushed them out the door and said good luck. Not many parents will do that now.
I see the same thing in my troop. Most parents just don't understand what an adventure is or how useful or fun it can be. This used to be just a few parents and now it's closer to half. I just had a parent bitch at me about how I should make extra PORs, whether they're needed or not, so his son can advance faster. He already has the time done so how about a 1 month special project for the POR? I kept my mouth shut but I wanted to tell him that, since he's an Eagle scout, maybe if he went camping and let his sons go on high adventure trips then maybe they might see scouting as more than a patch.
Someone said scouts is struggling because there are fewer parents with outdoor skills. I disagree. There are fewer parents that understand what an adventure is. Scouting without an adventure is nothing more than a classroom.