Scouting has always been my eldest’s thing. He loves everything about Scouts. My younger son went to Cubs and he enjoyed it. He behaved himself, tried hard and came home happy. He became a sixer at a young age, just as he’d become a lodge leader early at Beavers, but he never really got Scouting like his brother.
But all that has changed. Because now he’s an actual Scout.
I must admit, I was dubious about him even moving up to Scouts yet. He’s only in year 5 and traditionally kids have moved up from Cubs in year 6. But at 10 1/2 he is old enough for Scouts, even if it’s only him and one other kid in his year who isn’t even in his class. I wondered if it wouldn’t be better for him to stay at Cubs for now and start Scouts in year 6.
But what do I know? I had underestimated my son and I should know never to do that.
He came home from his very first day at Scouts and he was buzzing. There is no other word for it. He was full of everything they’d done, all the people he had spent time with, all the new opportunities that were available to him…
Being so big and so bright for his age, he’s always found it easier to get on with older kids, simply because they don’t really realise he’s younger than them. He’s always been able to pass for two years older, which helps when you’re talking to older kids. Plus, having his brother there helped pave the way for him.
He went on his first Scout camp almost immediately. His Cub friends were there too, so I guess it didn’t seem like much of a big deal. He enjoyed it, but when I asked him if he wanted to go on the week-long camp in the summer he said he didn’t. Of all my kids, he likes camping the least (partly I suspect because he is the most likely to mess around and not realise the importance of sleep until it’s too late and he feels like death the next day).
But then just two weeks later he went on another camp, because one of my eldest friend’s had dropped out. It was just him, his brother, a year 7 and a year 8. They were joining a big camp with Scouts from all over the country – and power boating and abseiling. I must admit, the thought of my little boy driving a power boat did rather fill me with fear. I also wondered if the big boys would be nice to him or if they would leave him out because he’s ‘only’ at primary school – and not even in his final year at primary school. But he had a brilliant time.
There was talking of a rowing weekend in London, with him potentially the only Scout from his troop. No brother there, no leaders he knows, no friends. I would never stop him from doing something he really wanted to do, but I was glad when he decided against it.
And what of the week-long camp over summer? He’s going for half of the week and maybe staying the full week if he enjoys it. I must admit, the thought of him potentially staying a week makes me feel quite sick. It’s a double whammy of him being so young (his brother has only done one full week – when he was 12, at the end of year 7) and the thought of both of them being away at once. What will we do? A weekend is quite nice, but more than that? The place will be so quiet and so tidy. It sounds good in theory, but in reality I’m not so sure.
But Scouting gives kids experiences they would never have otherwise. I’m happy that my boy has found Scouting and that he is enjoying it so much.