Rest easy, fellow scouts. The new CEO of BSA is a former navy SEAL named “Smiley.” But does he whistle while performing every task?
I am moving my brother out of my house. So much physical, moral and mental strain has reminded me of my BSA roots, and brought me back to you. You’re welcome.
While for you, an ordinary citizen, moving a sibling into a new apartment would be exhausting, I am a more advanced human, because I am a Boy Scout. I Smile and Whistle while performing every task.
Here is how I adhered to the Hiking guidelines of a Second Class Scout while moving my brother out:
1) I walked like an Indian: “Imitate the Indian when you walk - he knew how to hike. … come down lightly on your heel with your toes pointed straight ahead, or even a little pigeon-toed, and push off with your toes. Lean forward from the hips, and keep your chin up. Twist the hips slightly with each step, and swing your arms easily. In this way, you will glide along with a natural movemnet of the whole body.”
This method was so helpful in moving my brother’s mattress, that I was soon asked to step aside and hold the door open.
2) I rested: “For a real rest, lie down on the ground with your legs up against a stump or a rock to make the blood run from them.”
I really think the moving team appreciated that I knew how to rest.
3) I demonstrated silent signals: “In Scouting, the leader doesn’t have to say a word. He makes a hand signal, and the fellows see it and obey it without a sound.”
Everyone appreciated my signals for “hurry” and “halt”:
4) I did not molest animals: “Cows give more milk when left in peace …Scouts do not molest them.”
5) I scooped a “cat hole” latrine with the back of my heel:
It was difficult to stay true to all of these boyscout guidelines, but I was steadfast. And tomorrow is another day of making everyone’s lives better by adhering to the Boy Scout Law.
- Lady Eagle Scout
“Feet that are strong and well-cared for are your most important gear for hiking … .Wash them often… . . Trim your toenails straight across.”
This gross passage makes me put shoes on. Apparently, they are the wrong shoes, because they are not “Official Boy Scout Shoes,” which are best paired with a fine “Official Scout Sock.” Here we go, BSA. Your Bible is selling your products. You’ve even got your own version of “Lather, Rinse, REPEAT.”:
“Some hikers like to wear a pair of thin nylon or rayon socks inside their stockings”
Really, the best thing about long socks is that they look so distinctive with shorts. Especially, what I would call “parachute shorts”
So, I’ve been a tenderfoot for more than a month. This, believe it or not, is one of the things that will promote me to Second Class (how about that for stupid seniority). Anyway, we’ve also learned a lot about the flag, knots, the boy scout law and ourselves, haven’t we? But forget about all of that because today, TODAY, scouts, we are going to PREPARE to hike.
We aren’t actually going for a hike. No. We aren’t ready for that. Today, we will look at the
and HIKING FOOD
Is it just me, or does this level of preparation put boy scouts about the same place on the “bad-ass” scale as this Victorian Misses, ready for her holiday:
BSA seems to anticipate my giggles. “[This] kind of hiking is not for softies,” warns my handbook. Among other things to watch out for, we are bound to come across “un-expected holes in the swampland.” Yikes.
Anyway, I’m about to go to a Ranch for the 4th of July. Granted, there will probably be little venturing out into the wilderness. This promises to be more of a “eat bean dip and drink cocktails indoors” kind of hike. But I want to make sure I’m prepared for anything.
I’m sure there comes a time in the life of every blogger when she realizes that she doesn’t WANT to blog, but she feels like she SHOULD. Since I spend about 60% of my time following what is most shiny, this feeling of obligation has come early. However, I think about what a boy scout would do (Brave Loyal etc.) and I blog onward.
The Scout Law is really 12 adjectives toward which I should now strive. This was a particularly fun post to write, because it led me to answer such timeless questions as “which fox news clip says what I mean?” and “Should I use June Cleaver or Donna Reed do get my little ol’ point across?” Life is full of choices!
I am told “(if) you should willfully break the Scout Law, you are not a Scout. It is as simple as that.” Heavens. It’s only my third week! Let’s see how I measure up:
A Scout is …
Highlights: “All of our dealings with others are based on trust . . we buy a can of food and trust the manufacturer to have filled it with only wholesome ingredients. We listen to the news on the radio or on TV and trust reporters to tell us the truth.”
Can Lady Eagle Scout be trustworthy?: Um, I think that you can trust me farther than you can throw me.
Usefulness Rating: 8. Yes, I may be a curmudgeoness, but I know that trust makes life worth living and the relationships in it bearable. This is a good one, BSA. However - take a closer look at your examples next time.
Highlights: “You show loyalty best by turning yourself into the kind of boy your parents would like you to be … “
Can Lady Eagle Scout be loyal?: I can absolutely be loyal. But this whole passage asks me to be obedient - and brain-washed. It’s this kind of mixing up terms that got poor Beaver out the tree and home for a spanking.
“Beaver, come out of that tree!” “If I do you’ll hit me!”
Usefulness rating: 2. Loyalty is good. This definition of loyalty is not.
Highlights: “If you do a Good Turn in hope of receiving a gift, it is not a Good Turn at all”
Can Lady Eagle Scout do it?: I like the concept of a Good Turn - and the desire to always be helpful. But everyday? That might just be too much.
Usefulness rating: 9. I’ll agree this is useful even if I am not the best candidate.
Highlights: “Friendship is like a mirror …Among the finest expressions of this brotherhood are the great world jamborees”
Can Lady Eagle Scout do it?: Sometimes I don’t like people. How about when you are telling a person about how something sucks and they say “at least you’re not starving” or “how about people in that (most recent natural disaster) - they’ve got real problems” I don’t know if I can pledge to be friendly in these situations. However - WORLD JAMBOREES? Sign me up.
Usefulness rating: 3. Plenty of good people are terrible at friendly.
Courteous: Like, Tea Time?
Kind: Good Turn!
Obedient: Man, this one is the worst
Cheerful: Shit-eating grin
Thrifty < Shoes for no reason + large percentage of budget spent on entertainment + indulging in fresh flowers and nostalgic candy bars.
Brave: Is it brave to write a blog?
Clean: Well, right now I haven’t showered in 36 hours, but my shirt was not from the laundry hamper, so … B+
Reverent: Hmmm. This is the worst adjective you could have chosen in association with religion, BSA.
So, in response to my nasty attitude, I abbreviated the last few characteristics. Admit it - you were getting bored too! At least we made it through them together.
Scout Spirit: DUTY TO GOD, DUTY TO COUNTRY, DUTY TO OTHER PEOPLE (“A cheery smile and a helpful hand may serve to make life easier for someone who is weak or old, for a woman or a child.”) DUTY TO SELF
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like any kind of “spirit” comes from someplace other than the place rules come from. But Boy Scouts says that Rules GIVE you spirit. Hmmmm. Strange. I won’t over-think this.
Scout Oath, 1961:
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
to help other people at all times;
to keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
Now, a lot of things have changed in the Scout handbook since 1961, but this oath has remained exactly the same. The BSA has struggled with that phrase “morally straight.” Although the BSA claims that the phrase “morally straight” refers solely to honesty and good character, the organization maintains an anti-gay atmosphere. BSA frequently denies employment to gay men, and has been granted this right by high-level courts in recent years. In 2002, the DC Commission on Human Rights held that “to force Boy Scouts to appoint open homosexuals as Scout leaders would violate the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment freedom of expressive association.”
The connotations of the phrase “morally straight” have changed over time, but the BSA has passively allowed that change to continue rejecting gay lifestyles. Many of the lawsuits between open homosexuals and the BSA have focused on the fine lines in employment discrimination, with no great victories for gay rights activists yet.
For an interesting (if wordy) reflection on growing up a gay scout, see excerpts from Michael Harris’ “Morally Straight.” I have an affection for his project because it is so similar to mine! Ladies and Gays! You too can be Eagles as well - also!
I think, that when I get there, I would like to be hoisted and greeted like our country’s flag:
“You will want to greet it to show your love for it - by saluting it if you are in uniform, by holding your right hand over your heart if you are in civilian clothes”
“You should know that the flag is never used for drapery (use red, white and blue bunting instead)” I should know that.
If you would like to feel insignificant for a moment, check out all of the days of the year you are supposed to fly a flag. From dawn!
New Year’s Day, Inauguration Day, Lincoln’ Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Armed Forces Day, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), Father’s Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, the birthday of states, and State holidays. Phew!
This is why I have no upper arm strength! I have not been raising the flag on all of these many celebratory days! And now that I know that “joy is indicated by the flag at full staff” (teehee) I will have a better appreciation for what’s going on with the many flags about town.
Put a damn band aid on little cuts.
Wrap a big cut in a bandana.
BAM First Aid
After another gnarly horror story about an elderly couple in a car accident (man, Boy Scouts of America, you are great at fear-factor), I am convinced that Boy Scouts can solve any problem. In this chapter, we learn how to call emergency vehicles.
1) Always carry an emergency dime in your pocket for pay phones.
2) As soon as the operator answers (!) give the number if you know it, otherwise say “I want an ambulance in Grover’s Corners”
3) When the operator has connected you, report the W’s - Who Where What
Once you have completed all of these steps, your patient may be dead, but you have followed the boy scout code.
This video will show you how much grass has grown under your injured patient as you have followed the boy scout code of 1961.
Come on, Boy Scouts. Show me something I can DO.
Really, I am. I was expecting this post to be lots of this:
However, this seems to be something I can do, even with x-chromosomes. Sheet bend this, you sheet bend heads:
I am very excited because I am learning that these knots can save lives (see posts below). However, I am a little concerned, because some people seem to think that a bowline, used in a pinch, actually asphyxiates you. Hmmm. Well, be prepared for anything I guess.
Coming up …First Aid
Damage to Trees: In case you were wondering, here is what happens to a tree if it is injured: It bleeds sap or it gets diseased. All because “some kids start hacking the moment they get a knife or an axe in their hands” BUT “a boy who becomes a scout has a different idea.”
One of my favorite tones this handbook takes is the “moral-superiority-for-super-cool-scouts-like-us” tone. I’m reminded of those Reefer Madness type movies from the late 50s “But Johnny is wise, he doesn’t risk his future and his community for a few moments of REEFER! - NO! He’s a SCOUT and he has a different idea!”
Safe Fires: This section warns that a few tiny flames can, “lick up a bush-and destruction is on!” Teehee.
Precautions we Scouts take:
1) Clean the site down to the mineral ground. And clear it for a diameter of ten feet of any material that may catch fire (This negates my plan to do this behind my duplex)
2) After you light the fire - break the match in half. That will confirm for you if it is still lit or not.
3) Make sure the fire is DEAD OUT (first caps of the book - big moment). And leave two small sticks over the dead ashes as a sign to other scouts that the fire was out when you left.
There were moments this past weekend when I was DEAD OUT. I might have even had two little sticks on me.
Later tonight (I promise) KNOTS … .
So, here I thought I was already a tenderfoot, but there seem to be some to-dos. I am meeting some friends tonight at a bar, so originally my goal was to finish all of the tenderfoot tests in less than an hour so that I can publicly state my investiture in front of friends and a pitcher of beer. But it seems there’s a lot more to this. I actually have to memorize tree and flag facts, so I’m just getting a start tonight.
There are 3 sections to mastering Tenderfoot: “Scout Teamwork, Scoutcraft and Scout Spirit”
“Scout Teamwork” is essentially admin stuff, so I’ll spare you, save a few highlights
1. There is a cute section about if you aren’t eleven yet: “You’ll just have to wait and let nature take its course.”
2. Also, there’s an adorable “national membership fee” of 50 cents. I am tempted to write a check.
3. Each patrol has an animal name and sound. My favorite is “Raccoon — thin whine mmm-mmmm.”
4. I now know how to tie a neckerchief.
5. And, because I can’t resist ragging on a silly picture, the caption of this one says “The scroll with the Scout motto is turned up at the ends to suggest the corners of a Scout’s mouth raised in a smile as he does his duty.”
Until tomorrow, scouts.
Oh, My I am getting so excited about the Tenderfoot activities tomorrow holds. They include:
Protecting our Natural Resources
Care Before Building a Fire
Whipping a Rope
Tenderfoot Knots … . And more!
On the first page of my father’s boy scout handbook, Joseph A Brunton Jr. welcomes me to scouthood. Brunton urges me to “become a real scout,” that is, a scout full of “dedication, work, perseverance” and “self-sacrifice.” I think this will be a good place to start charting exactly what a “real” scout is. Because, as a lady, I already have a strike against me in the authenticity department. From Brunton’s introduction, it seems a “real” scout ignores fun things. This will not do. Hopefully I will be able to live as a scout and not become a wet blanket. I stare at the empty fried rice carton on my lap and think about turning back. However, I know that there are sweet activities (like knife-sharpening!) ahead, so I stay-tuned. After all, Brunton “trusts” me “ON MY HONOR to strive toward becoming a real Scout and the kind of citizen our country needs and deserves.” And our country needs and deserves fun people.
The intro continues by reminding me of the different groups and clans I’m a part of - a sort of Venn Diagram of the Scout. This section seems aimed at shrinking any sense of individualism, and cultivating a healthy group mentality. There are also funny pictures:
YOU-AMERICAN BOY: “Do you hear in your imagination the almost soundless dip-dip of Indian canoe paddles or the ring of the axe of an early pioneer hewing a home out of American wilderness?… You are the descendant of those people. You are the guardian of what they built.”
As a product of revisionist history classes, I find this passage more than a little strange. (I’m the guardian of the soundless dip-dip?) As an American, it’s less than inspiring. But the picture is great! Check out this guy with the buzz cut, dreaming of his dubious roots. And how could I forget that this project now allows me - nay, encourages me - to wear knee socks! I hope this exact character appears again, and I shall call him Buzz.
YOU-BOY SCOUT: “Yes, it’s fun to be a Boy Scout!”
Thank goodness, I was getting worried.
YOU-IN THE THE GREAT OUTDOORS: “You are completely at home in God’s great outdoors… .Birds and animals become your friends. You master the skills of … .bringing a bird to you by imitating its call.”
An important character makes His first appearance in this passage. Yes, I’ve known that God and Boy Scouts are inseparable for a while, but here He is, folks, in a brief teaser. I’m sure we’ll see Him in a big way again soon.
How sweet do these animal skills sound? And yet, how different are they from Disney princess skills? The picture I’d like to share from this section is lonely collector boy. He is my favorite.
Sorry it’s sideways. I haven’t earned my technology badge yet.
YOU-PATROL MEMBER: “In the scout patrol you will meet boys who may be your friends for the rest of your life. … You will find out what it means to be a real boy among other real boys”
Okay. This will be one part of the process that I won’t be able to take part in. I want to remain semi-anonymous, so I can’t join a patrol. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’m outside of the age and gender limits to join one. Not to worry. I’ll still try, like Pinnochio, “to find out what it means to be a real boy” even if I’m not “among other real boys.”
YOU-MEMBER OF A TROOP: “Your patrol does not stand alone - it is part of a troop that consists of several patrols that work together. …joining in the excitement of the campfire at night.”
Well, I will consider any reader of this blog a part of my troop, how bout that. And this campfire does look pretty exciting in this pic:
I would like to promise you this level of excitement if you follow me on this journey.
YOU-PREPARED FOR SERVICE: “‘Be Prepared’ … ‘Do a Good Turn Daily’ … Some day you may join the roster of Scout heroes - if you are prepared.”
Okay, Boy Scouts. This concept does make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Although, there have been enough jokes made about walking old ladies across the street to make me a little wary. Isn’t there a certain … vanity in looking for someone you can “do” as your good turn? Doesn’t a real “good turn” make itself known in a subtle way that cannot become a badge? Well, I am committed to this. Even if it means throwing a flannel shirt at a drowning person:
YOUR UNIFORM: “The color blends with the hues of forest and field … people know that only a boy who is a full-fledged member of the Boy Scouts of America has the right to wear the boy scout uniform.”
Now, I may be able to find all the parts of a uniform I would need at my local thrift store. But the look has been done, so I’m making a decision right here and now to let my daily dress serve as my BSA uniform. Although I will get special joy out of wearing knee socks and feeling full-fledged.
YOUR SCOUT BADGES: “The badges you earn are the best proof of your determination to make the greatest possible use of the opportunities that Scouting offers you.”
Okay, I am going to have to collect the badges. This is Americana bling, people, and I will have it known in badge form that I cared for my pet for two days, or went grocery shopping with my mother. I think that I will need a piece of clothing that is easy to do a crappy sewing job onto. Probably an old denim jacket. Stay tuned. I am excited because it looks like there are badges I qualify for just by deciding that I am a tenderfoot. Hooray.
YOU-IN A WORLD BROTHERHOOD: “in more that seventy countries around the globe … .All of them consider you their brother.”
Let’s just appreciate this “different hats means diversity” picture:
Fortified with a new understanding for all the parts of scouthood into which I now enter, I’m headed to bed. Tomorrow’s a new day, fellow Tenderfeet. We had better be fresh!
- Lady Scout
The cover was what made me do it. Well, that and my 25th birthday. LOOK AT THIS GUY. He’s so excited to march into the future, armed only with his Boy Scout Handbook. His hand is poised, ready to grab whatever comes his way - opportunity, connections, the right turn of phrase. He is ready. Thank you Norman Rockwell.
Realizing that career direction is not going to rain down out of the sky has made me look for it in the strangest places. Tea Leaves. Cloud formations. Facebook news feeds. So what better time to look to the organization that promises a sense of direction to young boys? I can take back all of the career confidence denied ladies for centuries, and learn to tie knots at the same time. Here goes.