Girl and Boy Scouts Involvement at WHS

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Some local Boy Scouts trekking through the snow on a troop camping trip. PHOTO/Troop 250 Waltham

Casey Friedman, Staff writer

During activity blocks on Thursdays, classrooms are full of students engaged in various clubs and activities of their interest. While most students are heavily involved in clubs at school, some meet outside of school hours, such as the Weston Boy and Girl Scouts.

Many of the WHS Scouts have been a part of these programs since kindergarten. However, the experience has not been always positive for Girl and Boy Scouts as they continued this program into high school. There are many stereotypes about Scouts that cause some to make their involvement more private.

Junior Ryan Hayes is very familiar with these reputations and for this reason has avoided discussing his involvement in the Scouts at WHS.

“I don’t really talk about being a Boy Scout just because of the stigma involved with it,” Hayes commented. “[The stereotype is] that we’re all like the same type of people: nerdy introverts, super outdoorsy, always wearing our uniforms.”

Despite some hurtful stereotypes, the overall experience with these programs is a rewarding one for Scouts. In particular, the junior and senior Girl Scouts have focused their time on the Gold Award project, an 80+ hour project that takes time, dedication, and service.

As a recipient, senior Julie Jesurum describes what makes the Gold Award so important to her.

“It’s an opportunity for you to focus on something in your community that you want to change, mostly focusing on females making a change and making a difference,” Jesurum said.

The Boy Scouts also have an award recognizing accomplishments in the program, however the awards are different, much like the administrations themselves.

“I think both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have become similar in recent years, although of course each one offers different opportunities and operates in different ways,” Hayes said.

This past year, the Boy Scouts have received national attention when their administration decided to allow girls to join their organization. This upcoming change came as a surprise to many due to the previous image of the Boy Scouts’ administration.

“Boy Scouts is managed by a lot of older men, and their age and generation generally lends to a more traditional outlook,” Hayes said.

Mathematics teacher and Boy Scouts troop leader Bailey Fidler had a similar experience with the administration and their reputation when he was a Boy Scout in high school.

“When I was a Scout, the stereotype of the Boy Scouts as an organization was that they had some policies that were not very progressive,” Fidler said.

However, some Scouts believe that this progress is exactly what the Boy Scouts’ administration needs to improve their image and cooperation. According to Hayes, the shift signifies change and increased leardership for the upcoming generations.

“This world is becoming increasingly more under the ownership of our generation [the students], and I think it’s important for us to keep making these changes because one day they [the older, less progressive generations] won’t be there to stop it,” Hayes added.

Despite the various responses to this announcement, students at WHS have been as involved as ever in Boy and Girl Scouts. In June, all of the senior and junior Gold Award recipients in Eastern Massachusetts, including students from WHS, will be going to the State House to be honored for their achievements.