It is the tradition at my particular place of work to head to one of the local real ale boozers of a Friday lunch time and this Friday was no different.
This time a couple of people were there who I don't know that well, I think you'd call them acquaintances more than anything else, certainly they were not aware that I was involved in scouting in anyway. And conversation came round to the fact that one of them has a son who is about to start cubs. So far so good, I naturally showed an interest. Anyway eventually this individual said that he had volunteered to help out with cubs, not because he really wanted to, but because he didn't trust the leaders. This was not a particular anti scout leader thing, the fact is he does not trust any adult with his child. And what a sad state of affairs that is.
Now I completely understand wanting to meet the leaders involved, that makes sense, I get maybe enquiring as to what checks have been done on them, what training they have done and what first aid qualifications they have. It's very protective, but I get it. Yet to wrap your kid in cotton wool to the point where you wont trust them with anyone else is shocking, on two levels.
Firstly, where is the sense of adventure? The biggest thing kids get out of scouting, or any other organisation like guides, or boys/girls brigade, cadets, St Johns ambulance and so on, is that sense of adventure. It's about doing something away from your parents and gaining that sense of independence, of standing on your own two feet. And I think that kids that don't do that are missing out on something.
Secondly, that sense of mistrust. What a sad state of mind to be in. How tragic it must be to treat everyone you meet with suspicion, that they may realistically pose a threat to your child. Imagine that state of mind. How do you get to that place? I blame the media to a certain extent but there is an overall obsession in society with paedophiles etc that is just not healthy. And we need to start changing our mind set because unless we do, more kids are going to miss out.