Scout no more?

I may no longer be a scout, or at least officially under Scouts BSA, for long. My scout troop may not recharter next year.

In the wake of the pandemic, a lot of the local scout troops and cub scout packs have suffered. The scandal and legal situation with the then-Boy Scouts of America organization (which they have rightfully owned up to) probably did not help. I've heard that several troops and packs have dissolved altogether. Overall, the past few years has been a rough decade for scouting.

My own troop was by no means large, but it was close and tight-knit, like a family. When I joined, there was just a little more than 10 members. We grew to nearly 30, before the pandemic hit. Now, they have become top-heavy with older scouts, and have been unable to recruit new members. Of the remaining active members, most if not all will either age out at 18 or reach Eagle (several completed their projects earlier this year). They've planned a final summer outing as their last big "hurray," to go out with a bang. I will be unable to join them as I am currently doing a full-time internship at the Morton Arboretum, but I joined in on several of my fellow scouts' Eagle Projects.

Scouting was a large part of my identity. I learned basic skills—camping, tying knots, how to start a fire. I took the Leave No Trace principles to heart, and continue my obligation to help other people at all times. Scouting helped me find my interest in plants (see "The Forester"). It was the same year I did my Eagle Project that my interest in the local flora really kicked off. I wanted to reinvigorate some of the skills I learned. I practiced my Basketry merit badge by weaving baskets from the twigs of a local willow. I discovered the joy of wild dewberries and foraging. I made cordage from the leaves of an agave plant in my backyard. Realizing that the plants were not just background, that put things into a new perspective. And of course, iNaturalist played a large part in helping identify the basic components of my local flora and connecting me with other naturalists.

As an Eagle Scout, I can honestly say that Scouting made me the person I am today. Part of that past is vanishing. And I am changing, my identity growing, beyond the labels I used to call myself. But I will continue to consider "Arnan the scout" a part of my identity, and the username will not change. Here's to memories of day's past, and to hopes of a bright future.

We all change, when you think about it, we're all different people; all through our lives, and that's okay, that's good, you've gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.

Arnan, Botanistrum

Posted on Ιούνιος 23, 2023 0425 ΠΜ by arnanthescout arnanthescout


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Ιούνιος 10, 2023 11:32 ΠΜ CDT


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