My Boy Scout (yes, I talk of nothing but Scouts now) is working on two merit badges this summer: Emergency Preparedness and Rifle Shooting. He is mildly excited about E-Prep (there is a lot of composition involved in this one) but thrilled about Rifle Shooting. But he has a bit of work to do there too.
Someone invited us to go to her family's pool today, and I had to turn her down. I noted various reasons, including the merit badge work. Some is due tonight (!) at a meeting with the Scoutmaster. (The Scout did not properly plan his tasks so he didn't have a lot to do at the last minute. Bet he'll do better next time.) Her response surprised me.
"He has to do work over the summer? Why?"
"They do a lot of badge work at summer camp. If he does his work ahead of time, he'll get to shoot a rifle, practice rescuing people, and end up with a badge or two on the way to Eagle Scout. (I don't know if the rifle badge is required; e-prep is.) It's great."
"Great?" (Said with much disdain, and I know disdain when I hear it.) "It's summer! They shouldn't give the kids work in summer!"
What is the proper response to that? The kid is 13. In 5 years he'll be an adult. (Now there's a scary thought.) He's working on something useful, yet enjoyable. He still has time to go to the pool (just not today), play x-box, ride his bike, go to picnics, go hiking, and do all those other summer fun things.
I think there would have to be something wrong with a guy who would not give up a little pool time in exchange for getting to shoot rifles and practice "moving an injured person out of a remote and/or rugged area, conserving the energy of the rescuers while ensuring the well-being and protection of the injured person" with a bunch of his friends at summer camp. (That quote is from the e-prep merit badge worksheet.) I think there is something odd about a mother who would object to that.
But wait! Why am I surprised? Last week we got a call from our township Parks and Recreation Department telling us that an activity my boy had signed up for had been canceled due to low enrollment. It was a firefighter's camp for teens. 4 nights, 2 hours each night, learning how to prevent and fight fires. With real firefighters, trucks, giant hoses, the works. For $15. But only 3 people signed up so they canceled it.
My kid was bummed. And incredulous. Why didn't more people want to do it?
Guess it doesn't fit their idea of summer fun.