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What is Scouting for Food? It is when Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts drop off plastic bags on doors one week and come back the next week to collect the bags. Hopefully, the bags are full of food to be donated to local food pantries for those less fortunate. It is a wonderful opportunity for the boys to get out in their community and do something for others.

While the boys themselves are not donating the food, they are helping others to donate, when they may not know how. It gives the boys a sense of pride and accomplishment that they can do good for other, no matter their wn economic circumstances.

Last week we dropped off our bags.

This week, when we went to pick them up.

As we get to our neighborhood we are surprised to see 3 carloads of Cub Scouts already there... and they aren't from our pack.

They were collecting the bags my boys had dropped off last week.

I cannot believe some parents turned donations of food to charity into a competition. We don't have assigned areas to drop off bags but still... what 1 boy drops off, he goes to pick up the following week.

This was a new low. My boys are so upset. They only collected 8 bags while this pack had a truckful from the area we dropped bags off at (we watched them, they were already there collecting bags when we arrived). I am so upset for my kids. They were so excited about this and that other pack just ruined it.

Our pack is not from a "well to do" area. Some of our boys have been on the receiving end of charity in the past and will be in the future. This was one chance for these children, who rarely get to donate, to have that feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that they had done something good for someone else. That other pack (I blame the parents, they knew what they were doing, the kids were just "following orders") just ripped that from our kids. Way to show the principles of scouting there. (note my sarcasm)

I am disappointed. My kids are disappointed. As my oldest said, "Wait a minute, we dropped bags off here, why are they picking them up? They're not from our pack. That's not fair," He's right. Yes, I know, life isn't fair. But this wasn't a competition. We weren't trying to sell popcorn or expo tickets. We were collecting donations for charity. What these parents did was tantamount to cheating, in my book. And if they are teaching their kids to cheat on something like donations, what else are they teaching these children?

I hope I did the right thing in what I told my boys...

I tried to explain to them that some parents took this as a competition, to get the most bags and not to blame the boys. Then I told them that anything we brought in was good, it is all going to charity, to those people who cannot afford to put food on the table. But they are still really upset, we only collected about 8 bags because the other area we dropped bags off isn't the most economically stable. I just cannot believe that some people would do that! Teach their kids to compete for donations of food like that.

Sorry, needed to vent.


UPDATE: We just got back from dropping off the food we collected. Here's what's happened since I first posted...

Liam and Ascher (my two Cub Scouts) are feeling a little better now. Our pack had a long talk at the drop-off about proper scout behavior. We emphasized that it was not the fault of the boys, but the actions of the parents that was wrong. The boys were just doing what they were told to do.

 

All of the boys were upset (there was another group of boys that had the same thing happen). They knew what the other packs had done was wrong

 

Some of the parents chose to turn this into a competition. We were told at the kick-off that if we saw bags at houses already, to move on. Our pack followed the rules. We were also told that when it came time to pick-up the bags, we were only to pick up where we had left bags. Even if we saw bags left at other houses... if we did not drop off bags there, the other pack/troop was to pick them up, not us. Our pack followed the rules.

 

This was a lesson for our Scouts. Not everyone is honest, no matter how much they claim to be. We did our best to emphasize that our boys did the right thing. They followed the rules, as they are taught in Scouts. While our boys are upset that other packs did not follow the rules and behave as good Scout should, they are still proud of their accomplishment today. They collected the food that was left. They sorted the food. They were able to collect and donate 730 cans of food. That is something to be proud of.

 

They can also be proud that they were the better Scouts. They obeyed the rules and they did not cheat to "win" some made up game by the parents. I am very proud of all our Scouts accomplished today. I am proud that my children are part of a pack that teaches and lives "honesty is the best policy." While we may be upset by what happened, we can go on knowing that we did the right thing.

 

Hopefully, next year, there will be more emphasis on the "Whoever leaves it, picks it up" policy from the council for our area (as a small area with only a few packs and troops, there were no designated drop off points for the packs - larger cities have a map and individual packs/troops are given a specific location to drop-off/pick-up).

 

But we are still proud that our pack was able to donate 730 cans of food the right way.

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Comments:

kjrn79
Nov. 20, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Wow, I'm very disappointed along with you.  Do you think your Cubmaster can have a conversation with the other Cubmaster?  I mean, they can't undo what has been done, but it is NOT a competition, as you say.  Your kids are trying to help the community and they probably feel like they have been robbed.  That is a very difficult one.  HUGS to you all from a former Cub mom. 

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momof...
Nov. 20, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Thanks kjrn79. We got the pack number from the uniforms the other pack was wearing and passed the information along to our cubmaster. We also had a long talk with all of our boys (this happened to 2 of our groups). I'm updating the original post here in a minute with what happened when we dropped off our donations. The cubmaster said he will be getting in touch with council as what the other packs did was completely against the rules set out for Scouting for Food. All of our boys are, rightfully, upset. But we tried to explain as best we could that they did the right thing and that they should still be very proud of their accomplishment.

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Barabell
Dec. 1, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Wow, that's sad.  I agree that is a life lesson, and I think you handled the situation great.  It's too bad when kids have to deal with adults that don't act very responsible, considerate, or mature.

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