Scouts Canada, notable to me in that they officially declare their
disassociation with Powel's Scout's of America and their stance
that there is no such thing as a homosexual, is divvied up into beavers,
cubs, scouts and something more scoutish, er...
I think it's called "voyager" or something...
I don't actually care so... there ya go.
pseudo military, fascist organizations, infected by religious bigotry
piss me off as a rule, but the benefits outweigh the detractions
for the little guys, so again... there ya go.
Now, about last night...
For the last 13 years The "White Tail Beaver" deal has included an overnight stay for the "Voyager" region at the National Museum of Nature in Ottawa Canada. Little Beavers and their Beaver Leaders and several parents...descend on the museum for three successive nights of beaver entertainment. We even get a crest for doing this... of course you get a crest for picking your ears.
We pitched out sleeping bags in an assigned area... for us it was on the floor with the geologic history of canada.
[ click the picture for the full view of the sleeping quarters ]
The lady behind us (that's Geo on the "smarties" sleeping bag) had done this before... she had an electric air pump filling a double bed size mattress.
The show included (from ~ 6:30 pm upwards until 11:00) presentations on specific areas of the museum and chances to fill out these "bingo cards" with answers gleaned from the text and elements of certain groups of exhibits. blah blah blah.... ok, fun for a while... Then there was craft. god.
Craft was introduced by this lady beaver leader thing done up smart in her kerchief and crest encrusted long sleeve. Her first words to the kids (our group was maybe 20 kids and another 9 adults) were "Ok... I really like my personal space... so I'm gonna take three steps back and I want all of you to stay put." Um... they (kids) were all standing around her trying to see the little widget thing we were about to make from a spool, clip and an elastic. Her "step back" thing backfired as the little monsters rushed her... So next thing you know there's all these beaver leaders doing the totally freakish "one arm up, with two scout fingers up but curling them in this beaver teeth" thing, seeking a compliance with silence and bending down to one knee.
They've convinced themselves that this works, even though it takes a 1 - 5 minimum ratio of adults presiding over the wee rug rats to make a go of the whole silent "be quiet" thing. A starter pistol would work better.*
Any ways, we eventually get to the point where it's time to make our beds, doff pj's and gather in the salon for speeches, entertainment and fake-fire-camp-fire songs.
[ click HERE for a quick animation of the kids arriving at the salon ]
The clown show was tremendous fun for the kids... The clown was a bit of a bitch, but I'm just thinking she's freaking out about how weird the whole gig is... She picked a few adults ( a friend of mine, ex airborne, not "into it" dude ) and just teased him all night... picked him to come up front and dress like a pig and shit... The clown did, however, pick George for the "can I have some help from the audience" moment.... He was in heaven...
[click the pic to see his little Georgeness just beaming when he first went up ]
She dressed Geo up as a monkey... (and yes, she called him Curious George all night).
[ click for a pic of the monkey... ]
These people... the ones that run this show... are a little off... as in off their nuts...
I can dig "doing it for the kids" stuff, but these guys are just one step beyond.
[ pic of the supreme beavers doing their thing ]
They're draped in blankets freaking covered in this crests, with head holes to make 'em into big ponchos.
So, as it all comes down, by around 11:30 they released the kids (the room full of 7 year olds) to go to bed... we went up and read a story for a bit and then joined the dozens of other floor-sleepers in trying to ignore whoever that was that snored like an elephant. (I also, apparently, snore like a 6 ton beast but what the hell... ) They rousted us out of bed, er... off the floor at 6:00 am and we went at it again. They "Asian Dinosaur" visiting exhibit was cool...
By 9:30 AM we were done and heading home.
I was put off a bit by how much praying to God and singing to God was going down. I looked around this predominately white group and wondered a lot of things... But the kids had a great time and I have to keep an open mind... because I'll be taking Ed to one in a couple of years.
* yeah, ok, so I wouldn't actually advocate something like that... I'm just kidd'en around.