Being Dad

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Boy

Today I read the announcement from the BSA Board of Directors that they’re expanding the program to allow girls into the Boy Scouts. I’m saddened by this turn of events because I can no longer in good conscience support the scouting program. For me, the BSA is about teaching boys how to be good men. I believe in order to do this, the focus has to be on the boy. I believe adding girls to the program, no matter how well-intentioned, will inevitably result in a change to both the curriculum and the structure.

Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive, says,

“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”

This is a noble goal and I believe the values described in the Scout Oath and Scout Law” represent worthy attributes to develop in both boys and girls. However, executing on this content at the local level is where I see problems arising.

The Board of Directors say the rationale for the change is,

“Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing. Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family.”

Again, this is noble, but the Board of Directors says Cub Scouts Dens will remain single-gender, which means for families with boys and girls, there will still be separate meetings. The boy’s den will have their own activities and the girl’s den will have theirs. They may be working on the same adventures, but maybe not at the same time and they will each have their own activities. And if they’re different ages, they will be working on different adventures entirely. How is this supposed to help make things easier for single-parent households or allow communities to participate in activities as a family (incidentally, the BSA already allows this with family campouts, etc.)? I think the only way to achieve this goal is to make the dens co-ed…and that’s exactly where I think this is going. When this happens the social dynamic changes at the basic level and this is where the BSA will lose its identity.

The Board also claims,

“Recent surveys of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts. Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women.”

This is great! However, only 10% of boys in the U.S. are currently involved in Scouts. Instead of opening-up the program to girls, why not focus on the 90% of boys in America that could benefit from the BSA’s character and leadership development programs?

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We were expecting rain, but nothing was going to stop our backyard campout.

Tent

As it turns out, we didn’t even get a drizzle. Although it might’ve cooled things off a bit because the air was still a little warm as we headed into the tent. We took the windows down to get the breeze blowing and it soon got more comfortable. …

Anyway, it was still early, so we watched “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” on the iPad…

Tent

Then settled off to sleep…and quite contentedly, I might add.

Sleeping

In the morning, I slipped out of the tent while the boys snoozed and started some coffee.

Coffee

With coffee in hand, I set-up the table and the ol’ Coleman stove to cook our breakfast…

Breakfast

The boys had a good time and thought eating outside was GREAT!

Breakfast

Best buddies…

Best Buds

After breakfast, it was time to take down the campsite. Alex wanted to leave the tent up so we could camp out again tonight, but alas, tomorrow is a school day. Anyway, this was a good opportunity to teach the boys an important aspect of the Cub Scouts outdoor ethics, namely, the “leave no trace” principles, which as the name implies, whenever you’re doing activities outdoors, you leave things as you found them…

Leave No Trace

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wherein I’m presented with an interesting perspective…

Me: Adam, would you like something to eat?

Adam: Cereal.

Me: What kind?

Adam: The vampire cereal.

Because “Count Chocula” is “The VAMPIRE cereal.”

The Vampire Cereal

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wherein Adam experiences a rainout on the first day of Fall Ball…

Adam: Why did it have to rain?

Me: Hey, buddy, rain is just part of baseball!

Adam: I don’t get it.

Me: Look, baseball is a very simple game: You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.** Rain is just part of baseball.

Adam: You’re weird.

Rainout

** with thanks to pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Bull Durham, 1988)

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I’m not a smoker, but I do like a good cigar once in a while. Today, I had the opportunity to enjoy a Cuban Montecristo that Cindy picked-up for me in the U.K. Smoooth…

Cubans

Actor, Raul Julia, once said,

“Why pay $100 on a therapy session when you can spend $25 on a cigar? Whatever it is will come back; so what, smoke another one.”

That’s about right.

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The first week of school is over, well, the first couple of days of school are over. But it’s still summer in sunny Florida…

Rib Weekend

and I MADE RIBS!

Rib Weekend

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Yesterday Cindy left for England to visit her dad. She had to fly out of Orlando, so the boys and I took a couple of extra days to cap-off our summer vacation and are staying at Hilton’s Parc Soleil Resort…

Hilton Parc Soleil

The rooms are AWESOME!

Hilton Parc Soleil

and the pool? Well, this just about says it all…

Thumb-up

Anyway, we started our day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They’ll be closing the TCM Great Movie Ride soon, so I wanted to take a ride on it one more time. It’s not the boys favorite ride by any means, but they tolerate it for me. 😉

So, we enjoyed the Indiana Jones show and snapped some pictures of the tank outside…

Tank

and the Frozen Sing-a-Long show is always fun (and extremely funny), but Adam says he’s not going to sing…

Frozen Show

We had Fast Passes for most of the rides we went on, so we were pretty much done by early afternoon. So, we headed back to the Parc for some fun-in-the-sun!

Alex on the Slide

Boys in the Pool

The bar stocked Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, so while the boys enjoyed the pool slide, Dad enjoyed a “dark” Mojito. Mmmmm.

Dark Mojito

Tomorrow, we’re heading home. School starts next week!

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One of the benefits to being retired military is you still have access to all the bases in the country. Many of these bases are located on some pretty darn good real estate, like Key West’s Truman Annex,

Truman Annex

which is home to some prime beachfront…

Truman Annex

and we had it all to ourselves…

Truman Annex

Truman Annex

And with the campsite set-up, we’re ready to hit the water!

Truman Annex

Adjacent to the base beach is a state park, which is separated by a not-so-foreboding fence…

Truman Annex

which we walked around to rent some snorkeling equipment…

Truman Annex Truman Annex

and do some snorkeling…

Truman Annex

While walking on one of the trails in the State Park, we happened across this signpost. Good to know where we are in relation to other cities around the world, and it makes a nice postcard picture!

Truman Annex

We had a great time at the beach today. It was nice and quiet, which is amazing considering it’s the middle of summer! Ah, the perks of military service. It’s days like this that make all the family separations worthwhile!

Truman Annex

So, we packed-up and headed back to our hotel, where we took a dip in the pool and enjoyed a cocktail (Shirley Temples for the boys) before getting ready for dinner in town. What a way to end a great vacation! Tomorrow, we’ll be heading home.

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One of the great advantages to being a member of the Freedom Boat Club is you have access to boats all over the country. There just happens to be a boat club affiliate here! I arranged a boat to take the family off-shore prior to our arrival, so the folks had the boat rready and waiting when we arrived…

Boat Waiting

and in just a few minutes we were ready to cast-off!

The Sea EO

And we’re off…

The Sea EO

Heading across the bay…

Boat going out

Into the inlet and out to sea! As you can see, Adam like’s to sit next to the Captain 🙂

The inlet

Destination? Anywhere!

Out to sea

We spent the afternoon on the open water. I’d open the throttle and we’d jump the waves at about 50-mph The boys had a blast! Every now and then, I’d slow to idle and we’d just sit on the water rocking back and forth with the rhythm of the ocean. It was wonderful!

Alex would lounge…

Alex lounge

Adam would pace (LOL)…

Adam paces

Cindy would pose…

Cindy poses

Me and Cindy

Beautiful and sooo peaceful!

Pano of Palm Beach Shores

one the way back to the marina, we decided to stop and visit Peanut Island, which is situated in the middle of Palm Beach Shore Harbor…

The boys on Peanut Island

It’s a great place to swim and snorkel, but very rocky!

Cindy and the boys on Peanut Island

This is the life!

Me and the boys on Peanut Island

We had a good time swimming and exploring the island, but alas, the day was drawing to a close, so we reluctantly packed-up the boat…

Loading the boat

and motored-off toward the marina. This time Alex sat next to the Captain…

Me and Alex

What a great day! And did I mention, it was my birthday? 😉

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Happy Father’s Day to me. Today I received the great hand-made cards from the boys. Evidently, they made them in school before school let out for the summer. They’re pretty cool and the boys have printed words on the tie that describe me. There are funny words like, “hairy” and “goofy,” 🙂 and serious words like, “caring” and “honest,” and, interestingly enough, they both seem to agree that I’m “nice” and “amazing”. Pretty cool. It’s great being a Dad!

Father's Day Card

I also got a Amazon Echo (a.k.a. An NSA Listening Device). It’s a neat little gadget and can do all kinds of things, like control your smart tech devices (television, thermostat, phone), research questions on the Internet, make lists, tell you the news, read audiobooks, and play music from several services, like Pandora, iHeart Radio, and Sirius/XM. I also now have access to Amazon’s entire music library, so can play entire albums.

Amazon Echo

The boys enjoy asking “Alexa” to play songs…not so much to listen to the songs, I’ve discovered, but just to see if Alexa can play it.

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