NOS means “Not otherwise specified” in Military lingo. It essentially means that we can’t find a category for it.. and so it is with this post.
It has been a while since I posted last, so here is some catching up and thoughts.
I’ll start with the drama. Last week I volunteered as a ‘Guest Instructor’ for the JROTC class at our High School. I learned a lot while teaching the 6 classes a day about accountability, military customs and courtesies, and shared life lessons that will (if listened to) help these young men and women. What I learned about JROTC was that it has very little to do with the military. Rather, the National syllabus for instruction focuses on Character, Citizenship, Leadership, and fitness… now where I have I seen that before?
Now I understand that there is an Army component to the class. They structure the class around an Army Battalion, wear uniforms once a week, and use Army language, but beyond that the curriculum is very generic in its content regarding character, citizenship and leadership. This was a surprise to me not really knowing what to think about JROTC and knowing how the ROTC at the University level works.
I was also surprised to see that very little attention is payed to recruiting or pushing a career in the military to these Cadets. It was rarely talked about. Now, of course there were graduating Seniors that are currently making plans for a career in the military, but the JROTC program is not a pool for recruiting.
I enjoyed teaching the class for the week and had the pleasure of meeting some outstanding students. I also met my share of students that frankly I fear will not make it in life. They are lazy, unmotivated, can’t seem to develop study habits, and generally could care less about their school, community, home, or one another. This shocked me. All of my kids currently attend this high school and for the last 4 years we have had a very positive experience. Our daughter has been active with the Marching Band, Symphonic and Concert bands, and has made great friends at the High School. Both of our sons have been athletes and members of various school clubs and also have made lasting friendships. All three of the kids have maintained good if not excellent grades over their high school careers and so our view of the school has been shaped by the athletes, friends, and social activities that my wife and I have been fortunate to participate in and get to know. Our house is always full of kids, mostly football players, and I have gotten to know them and their families and I can honestly say that they are good kids. So to be at the School and see the apathy that I saw this week, well, it shocked me.
NOW, having said all of that, the School District is in a world of mess right now, the teachers are minutes away from going on strike, the School District Board is not budging and neither is the teachers union. It has become very ugly in our little neck of the woods. The climate at the School is very apathetic and so I can see where some of the students have got it.
I hope this resolves quickly.. from the Scoutmaster perspective. Most of my older Scouts attend this School and it is effecting them. This close to the end of School, with the impending strike, the students have been forced to scramble to get things done in order to maintain decent GPA’s to round out the year. The uncertainty has left them questioning the dedication of both the teachers and the school district to their education.
Enough of that… I just hope it gets over quickly.
How this affects Scouting however is clear. When things are weird in Scouts lives.. it gets weird in their Scouting life. I had about half the Troop missing from this weekends Camporee. All high school age students, and students that needed to get much need assignments completed to increase their final GPA. They called me up and we talked about what was more important. The least I could do for them is support them.
Now Camporee… 28 went to Camporee this weekend, a good portion were the younger (First year) Scouts. They did fantastic! They proved that they are mastering Scout craft and basic skills. They were motivated and showed the district that our Troop was there to compete. We didn’t win the District Camporee Top Troop award, but each patrol came home with ribbons for winning Scout craft events. They did not win the best camp site, it seems we were missing Patrol boxes and a trailer. To that, the SPL suggested that we would never win.. and it’s ok.. we are backpackers and if they don’t like our style.. so be it. I was proud of him and his attitude.
This morning as we packed up and loaded the truck with our packs I overheard a Scoutmaster from a neighboring Troop yell at his Troop this; “Look at them.. while you are struggling with your boxes.. they are playing frisbee!”
We could not help but high five each other.. the Scout leadership had done an exceptional job this morning and ultimately got the Troop and hour and half ahead of schedule. They ate breakfast, cleaned up and packed in an hour and half. Made it to the camp wide flag ceremony and awards and departed about an hour before the rest of the district had their camps taken down. Our boys pride themselves in this style of camping. One day the district will come around and have a backpacking score sheet for the camp inspection.
On the way home one of the Scouts said to me that when he first started in the Troop, he thought I talked just to hear my voice… but as he grew in the Troop he realized that I was really saying something. After 4 years of being passed over for election in the Order of the Arrow, he was finally called out Saturday night. Finally, he is learning to lead, take responsibility, and his peers felt him to be worthy of membership in Scouting’s honor society. He thanked me for teaching him. My response was simple. You are welcome, now… continue to earn the right to be there.
I think this principle can be applied everywhere in our lives.
Well.. it’s going to be an interesting week here. I hope yours is great!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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