In 2014, my family made the leap into the amazing world of Scouting. We couldn’t be more proud of our Wolf Cub and our two Brownies!
Benjamin is excited, practically jumping out of his skin, before every meeting or event. Olivia and Rebecca started as Daisies and have made many friends. Harlan and I have made friends as well with families in both groups.
When I was in second grade, I was a Brownie. It didn’t last long because I was living on a military base, and the turnover of girls and leaders made it really hard to stay connected.
Olivia and Rebecca wanted to become Daisies in kindergarten, but the troops filled up so quickly that there were no slots available in the one associated with their school. The girls and I were disappointed, but I made sure their names were on a wait list. Finally, I got the call. An amazing woman had decided that she wanted a troop for her daughter where Jewish and non-Jewish girls could join and all feel welcome. I volunteered a little the first year Olivia and Rebecca were Girl Scouts. This year, I am honored to be a co-leader with the troop founder, Rebecca. The meetings can get interesting since she shares a name with my daughter.
Harlan was a Boy Scout for six years, and the kids have an uncle who is an Eagle Scout and a cousin who is a Webelos. Benjamin wanted to join and be like his dad, uncle and cousin. Sometimes, Benjamin’s behavior can make it hard for him to make friends or be accepted into a group. The desire to be a Scout was very strong in him. He loves the order, independence and the traditions. Eventually, through my connection with Girl Scouts, Ben found the perfect Cub Scout den.
Scouts have become a family affair. Rebecca, the Brownies co-leader, is married to one of the leaders of Benjamin’s Boy Scout troop! That means we are not pulled in so many different directions because we can do many cross-over events. The Pinewood Derby is one of the best events that the entire family can enjoy. Our Girl Scout troop put together care packages for U.S. military troops overseas and invited the Boy Scouts to participate. Of course, there are plenty of separate activities. Scouting is not just about fun, hiking and camping. Scouting is also about values and community service.
The majority of the kids in both Boy and Girl Scouts that we belong to are Jewish like us, so we are not the minority in this group, and our values are reinforced and honored by this part of the community.
Ra’anan and Jesse are leading Benjamin in ways only they can. In the Pack and Den the young men are celebrated and taught skills that help them in Scouts, school and in life. There are plenty of times when the group gets rowdy and makes more noise than I thought was possible, but no matter how loud they get, I know Benjamin is learning and having a great time with boys just like him.
In the beginning, I was worried that two different activities would pull my family in too many directions. Initially, I was afraid that being a co-leader was going to be overwhelming. However, now with the help of my amazing co-leader, Rebecca, we are helping mold the growing troop of Brownies and Daisies. Olivia, Benjamin and Rebecca are each making friends and beginning relationships that might continue for the rest of their lives.
We are almost through our second year as a Scouting family. I count the men and women who I have had the honor of working alongside as blessings in my life and the lives of my kids. My trio of bouncing balls of energy do not participate in many activities, but Scouting is something they really want to be a part of. Scouting may not be the activity of choice for every family, but for the Steuer family, it has made such a positive difference. I hope someday the kids will pass on their love of Scouting to their children.
Jennifer Steuer is an Albany mom whose busy household includes her husband, Harlan, and 8-year-old triplets Olivia, Benjamin and Rebecca. Follow her on Twitter @Got_Triplets.