One thing that hasn't changed since we moved is which pack and troop the boys participate in scouting each week. Why do we travel, when there are local groups the boys can participate in (and Chef's friends are even active in)?
One minor reason is that Gameboy has had so many changes in his life. PreK, Kindergarten and 1st and Second Grades resulted in attending three different schools. Then another for third grade, fourth and fifth another and sixth and seventh, two more schools. It's inherent in Aspies to act out with changes. We figured this was one thing that we can maintain the same faces for another six years-if he wants.
The major reason is that these people have been phenomenal in accepting Gameboy's differences, while also guiding him towards being more self aware and independent. Everyone is on the same page with him, firm but nurturing at the same time. It's a testament to the leadership that I have no qualms leaving him there for the meeting without having to stay to whisk him away if he's a troublemaker. In fact, I think he does better when Chef and I leave.
When you look at how these leaders handle my one child, you see that they're invested in ALL the boys in similar fashion. More than a few have boys who have grown into adulthood and yet they still are quite active in the organization. This particular troop has had some amazing retention numbers and of those, a staggering number become Eagle scouts. This troop CARES and greatly for the boys and for what BSA can do for them. We were really blessed with an amazing gift when the former District Chair said this troop would be the perfect home for our boys.
To whit: Gameboy is not a motivated child. We and his teachers fight him to do classwork, homework and chores. It's a different situation when he's at scouts. Yes, he doesn't want to do some of the tougher things, but if the boys are called upon to volunteer for anything, his hand goes UP. He understands that scouting means volunteering, and doing his share. Which is why we ended up at the church tonight.
Our council and district leadership has changed over the past three months. We are lucky-we got three rising stars, all of whom wanted to be here. Two of the three relocated from great distance and one across the state. One specifically asked to be in this district, that it was the best of the best.
Tonight, our Troop had a spaghetti dinner to welcome these three people to break bread with the leaders, scouts and their families. Gameboy volunteered to be here and on Tuesday night, Chef asked the Scoutmaster if he could help out, too and was told he was most certainly welcome. Two boys in class A's and two parents were there.
The eight boys made quick work of setting up, while the Scoutmaster and an Assistant tended to the kitchen. At the appointed time, only a dozen or so adults were there (Ed and I the only non leadership present), but the room ultimately had 35 people-considerably less than the 70 expected. Offers were made to enjoy seconds, thirds and fourth helpings. I have to say, Scoutmaster knows his way around the kitchen, you'd never know the meat sauce was started with a Ragu base!
Afterwards, our Scoutmaster spoke, then each of the newest members of our counsel said a few words. As they did, it made me consider where we were with two boys three years ago. How far one boy has come in learning patience and teamwork and realizing that there's more to life than his precious video games. How another is still 15 months from moving up into Boy Scouting, but the boys of the troop still treat him as one of their own.
They spoke of improving what I already feel is an amazing program. That retention can be better, that the camps can be improved, that there is more that we can do for the boys. Meanwhile, I looked around that room and could not think of any one of those leaders who gives less than their all for the boys, every week.
On a more personal level, I think of how much change they've made in the life of one boy. My boy. We'll never be able to say how much of the improvement in the past three years is medicine and how much is Scouting, but I suspect that these adults can overcome much of what the medicine cannot.
And that is why we travel for scouting.