High-waisted khaki pants. Patterned kerchiefs tied around necks. Lots and lots of men. If these are the images that come to mind when you imagine the “Boy Scouts”, it is time you got to know the modern face of scouting--a place where women leaders are welcomed and family time is the top priority.
Stacy Barry, a Realtor at Century 21 Scheetz, said that scouting has been an adventure for her whole family, not just for her nine-year-old Hudson, who joined the Scouts in first grade. “There is never a discussion if he is participating in Scouts or not,” Barry said.
And now her second son Parker won’t have to wait as long to follow in his big brother’s footsteps, because as of this year the Scouts are allowing Kindergarteners to join!
Barry, like many modern moms, is busy to say the very least. She balances a highly successful career in real estate with two lively boys, but she says the commitment to the Scouts is worthwhile and a priority in her family. In addition to being a “huge melting pot of kids” the Scouts teaches practical life skills, important values, and keeps kids active and engaged in their community. And no longer is the Scouts a “boys only” club. “The scouts have changed a lot,” Barry said. Moms and Dads are welcome to participate. In fact, the leader of Hudson’s den is a woman, and there are many female leaders throughout the organization. Barry believes that women bring many strengths to the program such as organization, practical advice, and a strong knowledge of age appropriateness. At the end of the day, the Boy Scouts is a family affair, and all are welcome to participate and volunteer.
Michelle Weber, Graphic Designer and Co-Director of theCityMoms of Greater Indianapolis, said her six-year-old son Thomas is so excited to be able to join the Boy Scouts as a kindergartener: “He loves science, nature and exploration. The Boy Scouts seem to have it all. He was very excited to see all of the STEM scouts has to offer and cannot wait to be old enough to check that out”
How It Works:
Prospective Scouts (Kindergarteners and up) can register starting August 25th at their local elementary school or at www.joinScoutsIN.org.
Scouts are organized into dens, with one to two leaders, and dens are included in a pack, which typically encompass an entire school.
The Boy Scouts requires a very low financial commitment. Scouts pay a minimal fee to join and are required to purchase a uniform and t-shirt. They do participate in fundraising efforts throughout the year to sustain the den activities.
“It is a lot of work for the parents, but it is worth it,” Barry said about the commitment. Especially with Cub Scouts, it is expected that there is a parent present per child. Most Scouting events are very family-friendly. Barry said she and her husband typically take turns attending events, and her husband is an assistant den leader.
Weber said, “My husband and I plan to attend Joining Scouts Night at Thomas’ elementary school to learn more. We were both scouts, growing up, so we know there is a level of involvement that each parent commits to each den. It is a little exciting to think of experiencing all of that, again, with our son!”
What Do They Do?
Scouts participate in a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, and learning safe knife skills. They also volunteer and give back to their schools. It is service learning with an emphasis on the great outdoors.
Weber said, “My hope is that my son will get to build upon the interests he already has while learning basic life skills to help him be successful. I also expect that he will have A LOT of fun!!!”
Creative Media Editor
A recent transplant to the Midwest, Megan still gets excited by the first snow flurries of the season. Although her husband’s job as a private school administrator brought them to the area, Megan feels more at home in Indy every day. While she isn’t chasing after her two children or working her day job as a social worker, Megan enjoys drinking craft beer, photography, playing soccer, and fantasizing about all of the Pinterest projects she will one day complete