I am not a Scout, but 3 of our 5 boys are members of Scouts Canada. Our 9-year-olds are 2nd year Cubs. Andrew is a first year Beaver. Aaron will join in September when he enters Kindergarten.
Tonight was the ‘Swim Up’ ceremony for the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. Three Beavers became Cubs as the lights in the gym went off and on, signifying a storm…during that storm, the Beaver uniform was taken off the Beavers and they were “magically transformed” into Cubs. So cute. About 8 Cubs became Scouts, and one Scout became a Venturer and earned the Chief Scout Award. I had never been to this formal of a swim up and it was so much fun to watch.
The reason I love the Scouting program so much is what came after. As most of our readers know, my 6-year-old, Andrew, is on the Autism Spectrum. He goes to Beavers every week, but he does his own thing a lot. The leaders are great with him, they adore him and consistently are working with him to stay on task. After the Swim Up Ceremony tonight, all the kids, Scouts, Cubs, Beavers and a couple of Venturers sat down to play a game of Duck, Duck, Goose. Andrew has never played this game before and he didn’t get it at all. He ran around the whole circle touching people’s heads and saying “duck”. All the kids were so amazingly patient…they told him he had to say ‘Goose’ to one kid and then race around the circle to get their spot. Of course, Andrew was not understanding, and he didn’t race back around in time to get the person’s spot. So he got another turn. This time, he touched the head of a Venturer and said “Goose” and proceeded to run around the circle. The Venturer, probably almost 10 years older than Andrew and obviously bigger and faster, got on his hands and knees and crawled around the circle. He was crawling faster than Andrew could run, so he purposefully ‘fell’ three or four times on his way around the circle. Andrew made it to the spot just in the nick of time and everyone cheered! There was no mocking from any of the other kids that Andrew was ruining the game, just fun and laughter and support of a kid who just has a harder time doing things and fitting in.
The joy on my boys face tonight was simply priceless to me. Andrew is accepted completely for who he is there, not who they want him to be. They let him go at his own pace and he’s included, every step of the way. This is why I love Scouting, and I hope my boys (the girls too, if they choose) want to belong for a long, long, time.