From the District Chair - Letting go can be hard

Posted on May 30 2013 - 11:41pm

I hope all of you are doing well and that you had a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend! I was so happy for the fantastic weather. All the rain has definitely been a blessing, but a little dry sunshine mixed in with the liquid sunshine helps to keep moods in moderation! I'm in New York City this evening as I write to you. I have a flight home early tomorrow morning, and I'm eager to get home because an Assistant Scoutmaster and I are hosting an instructional camping trip for our troop's new Scouts. It's going to be a fantastic trip and the boys will get to learn a lot of new skills!

This coming month, in June, we're going to be starting a new cadence, where the District Committee will meet quarterly on the first Tuesday of that month. Our quarterly meetings (June, September, December, and March) will allow us to pull many of our sub-committee members together to do workplanning and collaborate on new ideas, where we might not have that opportunity in our regular monthly meetings.

If you participate on one of our subcommittees, you may have been contacted by your committee chair, inviting you to this month's meeting. If you're not on a particular committee, but would like to learn how to get more involved in the district, I  would love to invite you to join this first meeting for some Scouting fellowship. We have plenty of activities and committees that can match any passions within Scouting you may have. We'll be meeting Tuesday, June 4th at the Simpsonwood United Methodist Church from 7:30 - 9:00. We'd love to have you join us!

By now, all of you and your Scouts are enjoying the fact that one more school year has come and gone. It's hard to believe that summer is here. Many of you are getting ready for your troops to travel to summer camp. For those going away for the first time, It can be very exciting but also frightening. Homesickness can creep in, but let me assure you, the Scoutmasters of our troops in Button Gwinnett do a fantastic job of keeping the boys occupied, well-fed, and safe! There's no other achievement from camp that your son will be more proud of than making it on his own from mom and dad for a full week for the first time. It's a true coming of age moment, and it helps to give him the confidence that he can do things on his own. We live in a society where so many of us can "hover" and try to make sure that we're there when our children struggle. I can definitely admit, that there have been times when I've seen my son struggle with something over the years that I wanted to jump in and help him solve the problem.

Scouting has definitely been a blessing to my son, but for me as well. My son has a safe environment in which he can fail and learn. This environment teaches him extremely valuable life lessons about making good choices, deciding when to take risks, and how to deal with conflict and challenges. These are all great skills that teach our boys how to be self-reliant.

It's also helped me in the fact that I've learned how to take a step back and let him as a young man, have some autonomy, and realize that he has the room to try new things, but he has the accountability to lead himself and others.

This month's issue of Scouting Magazine has a great article related to this topic. It is a quick read and I found it extremely informative and beneficial: http://scoutingmagazine.org/2013/04/ground-your-helicopter-style-parenting-methods-fast/

One Scoutmaster that I know has a policy for the parents that works extremely well. When the boys are at summer camp, he recommends and discourages boys from talking to their parents via phone calls. With the troop's "no electronics" policy, this can be easily achieved and if the Scout says that he wants to talk to his mom or dad, one of the Scoutmasters assures him that they'll call home and let mom and dad know they're doing ok and will relay any messages back to them. In turn, The Scoutmaster actively walks the grounds of Woodruff Scout Reservation and takes ample photos of his Scouts and emailing them or texting the photos home to the parents. It allows the boys to have fun and lets the parents know that their sons are doing great and having a fun time.

If your son starts to get a little homesickness, avoid offering him the opportunity for you to pick him up. Encourage him to stick it out and let him know that you're confident that he can do it. At the end of the week, when he's successfully completed camp and comes home, you will see a changed young man in his enthusiasm and confidence!

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, feedback, or you need assistance. I'm here to serve you and our youth!

Yours in Scouting,

Terry Walls

Chairman, Button Gwinnett District