The past few years of homeschooling have been just that. I have concentrated on our schooling and growing the family relationships. We have not done much extra. Family stuff and church stuff was all we made time for. This year we have jumped into a few extras. The girls have started going to brownies twice a month and Kenyon is now a boy scout. Before the school year started, the girl and boy scouts had a big welcome meeting at a nearby park. We stopped in after church for some hot dogs and games and just to see what was being offered in our area. To my surprise, the scout master of our local boy scout troop is a man I know. Geoff and I worked together for a few years and were actually pretty good friends at the time. That put my mind at ease about letting one of my kiddos go off without me some. The girls are still young enough that they do not do much other than games and crafts at the meetings but Kenyon is now in a very active troop with weekly meetings and at least one outing a month.
The troop is very focused on growing leadership skills in each of the boys. The meetings are led by the boys and they are involved in all the decisions made for the troop. At the first meeting, Kenyon was a little anxious about joining in with a group of boys that he had never met. He did not (and still does not) want me to leave him there so the girls and I sat in on the meeting. It did not take long for Kenyon to feel comfortable with Geoff because he had heard me talk about him several times over the years even though he did not actually remember him. The other boys were also very accepting of the new scouts and went out of their way to make them each feel welcome. At the end of the meeting they watched a slide show of pictures that were taken on the troops last outing. The event just happened to be a trip to explore the depths of a cave. During the slide show, I watched my son's face change from trepidation to anticipation. His normally introverted self was being overtaken by his need for some serious "BOY STUFF!" As soon as that slide show was over, Kenyon went up to Geoff and said "I want one of those uniforms!" He was ready to be a boy scout. He was ready for camping and caving, and plenty of testosterone filled activities. It has been about 2 months since that first meeting and he has had several opportunities for just that.
His first outing was a camp out at the Wild life expo. The Wild life expo is a local event filled with events for families to engage in and learn and experience all things outdoorsy. The boy scouts camped out at the event and then had a monkey bridge set up for visitors to try. The boys had to take turns working at the bridge and then had free time to experience several of the other activities available. The highlight for Kenyon was visiting the shooting range where he got to fire a shot gun.
His next all boy activity was an event that the troop was hired to work. The AKC Retriever duck throw. Hunters bring their dogs from all over the country to compete. The older boys were used to throw the ducks in the fields for the dogs and the younger smaller boys spent their day stacking dead ducks for the throwers. Although it was not all fun and games, Kenyon did enjoy watching the dogs do their work while he did his work. The boys (and the dogs) had to work from about sunup until sundown. It was a long hard day but the troop earned $1000 for their work. A good long hard day of work it just what every 12 year old needs!
This weekend they are camping out on a buffalo ranch. They are supposed to put up some towers and hook up a hamm radio to talk with boy scouts around the world. In the past they have reached scouts in Europe, Australia and even Japan. Depends on the sky on who they may be able to reach this year.
Kenyon is almost a teenager and I am confident that his new boy scout troop is just what he needs right now. Hard work and plenty of boy stuff!