This week my 6-year-old got ‘initiated’ into Kea Scouts. For him, and his brother it was probably one of the proudest moments of his life! As a young child in England, I have fond memories of Scouts and Girl Guides. When my brother was 6-years-old he became a Beaver (the UK equivalent of a Kea). Why was it Beavers? Surely, badgers or otters are more British?! Anyway, I have fond memories of my brother proudly receiving his first scarf and woggle. It was fantastic to watch my son initiated into Kea Scouts and so happy to receive his scarf thirty years on!
It’s great that the Scout movement is still going strong after all this time and has moved with the times by including girls too. In fact, Scouts has consistently grown over the past 7 years in New Zealand and now has over 20,000 members. Our local Scout group, here in Wellington is desperately looking for more volunteer leaders as the waiting lists are so long. Has Bear Grylls helped make Scouts cool again?
Scouting has grabbed it’s male role models and run with it, but what about the education system? Over the last thirty years, the number of male teachers has catastrophically declined. When my father started his career as a primary school teacher in the 1970’s the male staff ratio was about 50%. When he retired, he was one of only two male teachers at the school. In 2018, my son’s primary school in Wellington has no male teachers on its staff at all. Boys also need male teachers as role models. When is the government going to address this and attract more male teachers to the profession?
Without male role-models, boy culture feels lost… The elder male provides it with inter-generational magic, discipline and direction.
Michael Gurian, The Wonder of Boys
My little monkeys are lucky that their father is very involved in their lives and they get plenty of opportunities to do ‘boy stuff’. But what about boys who don’t have a male role model at school or at home? All the child psychologists say good male role models are important for boys to turn into great men.
What I like about Scouts are its values and traditions. It encourages responsibility, independence and gives boys a feeling of belonging to a club. They like rules and they need time making their own fun away from handheld devices! Scouts will give them a wider network of friends, great new adventures and plenty of time getting outside.
The motivation of working for badges has already been a hit with my 6-year-old. He received his ‘Helpful Kea’ badge before his ‘initiation’. Tasks such as laying the table, making his bed every day and keeping his room tidy have given him daily habits that he has continued, and it has also rubbed off on his younger brother. Happy Mum! Let’s hope he continues to enjoy Kea’s and his little brother joins him.
Little Monkeys fully supports youth leaders, volunteers, and teachers. They all have such an important role in growing our children and making them fantastic Kiwis. If you have enjoyed reading this mum blog check out some other blogs, or you can follow Little Monkeys on Twitter and like our Facebook page.
There are over 400 Scout groups in New Zealand. If you would like to find out more about one near to you, please click here to find the Region nearest you, or call 0800 SCOUTS during office hours.