Herding Cats

Last night was Daniel’s first Beavers meeting. Excitement doesn’t begin to describe how he felt. Secretly I was a little pumped too. I’ve been wanting Daniel to be a part of scouting for a long time.

After a quick leader/parent meeting, I stayed to watch and had to stifle many outbursts of laughter. Oh my goodness!!! It was so funny to watch. I’ve got to give credit to the Leaders for their patience and positive attitudes through all the typical 5, 6 and 7 year old behaviours.

At the beginning of each meeting they go through a certain routine, part of which is called ‘Riverbanks’. The leader calls out “Riverbanks” and all the children are supposed to stop running around and line up together in two rows with their arms stretched forward to rest on the shoulders of the person in front of them to form the banks of the river where the beavers live. Cute concept, don’t you think? The reality was this: when “Riverbanks” was called, some children paused in their play and sauntered around, wondering what to do, while others completely ignored the command. Two out of the ten kids lined up to form the river banks. Giggles of embarrassment from the parents. “I can’t believe that MY child didn’t listen…” “It looks like they’re trying to herd cats.”

After the kids have been rounded up and shown how to line up for Riverbanks, they sit in a circle (Beaver Dam) and have a discussion and play a game to remember each other’s names. A minute or two later the Hawkeye (head Leader) asks “Marcus, do you need to go to the washroom?” A nod of his head and he heads for the washroom, followed by half of the entire troop. Giggles from the parents on the benches.

Five minutes later the children are divided into two teams to play crab-soccer. Within seconds they’ve jumped up from the crab pose to their feet to chase the ball. Then all heck breaks loose:  leaders try to get the kids to get back down into the crab pose, Eric kicks Justin, Cathy runs crying to her dad that Justin got kicked and our Daniel stands in the middle of the melee telling the air that his arm has a cast and that he’s not going to do the crab pose. Chuckles again from the peanut gallery.

On our way home Daniel tries to remember the Beavers Motto, Promise and Law. Heck, I can’t remember all three, but I’m sure I soon will. Daniel will get a badge or perhaps his scarf and woggle, I think, if he gets all three memorized. Do I get one too? All kidding aside, I think this is a great opportunity for Daniel to broaden his horizons and become a very well rounded individual. On his Hawkeye’s instruction that he’s personally responsible for taking care of his uniform and needs to treat it with respect, Daniel has already hung up his uniform neatly in his closet ready for his next meeting.

I’m so glad that, despite my screaming headache, I stayed to observe the meeting. I’m beginning to pick up on the jargon and at least I’ll be able to talk with Daniel about what’s going on at the meetings. What a wonderful program – teaching responsibility, sharing, caring, self-discipline, etc. I’m going to do everything in my power to make this a wonderful, memorable journey for Daniel.

About Christine N

I'm married to Daryle, Mom to two wonderful boys - Daniel and Andy.
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