Scouts is our Home. Scouts is our Tribe.

I have started and erased and restarted the intro to this specific blog post today more times than I care to admit.

Since I cannot think of anything philosophically awe-inspiring, I will dive right in to it.

Something magical happened this weekend.

I am a scout leader. But I am a parent of a scout first.

We joined scouts so that our girls would learn lifelong useful skills that I had no clue how to teach, nor had the time, or chance to teach.

I was getting pretty tired of going camping, but not doing anything besides a fire for s’mores and watching movies in the trailer.

Yes…we are glampers.

Surprisingly, I found my tribe, my home, pretty quickly in scouts.

But my kids on the other hand, it has taken them a little bit longer. Not because they dont like scouts. Because they do. But because of their invisible special needs.

The one main factor that drew me to check out BPSA in the first place, was the notion that they are an inclusive scouting group. One that is welcoming to everyone.

BPSA: Traditional Scouting for Everyone!

Regardless of nationality, religious beliefs, political values, socioeconomic status, gender identity, age, and the list literally goes on.

When I first heard about BPSA, we did not have a gender creative child. In fact, we didnt have any children when I first learned about the association.

But I knew I did not want my kids in BSA or GSA. While they are great scouting organizations in their own right, their values did not fit with our values.

Fast forward to 2 years ago, and our youngest was deep in the world of gender creativity and 8 months pre-social transition.

Thankfully, we I had found our tribe. All the scout leaders were amazingly supportive. Specifically, her otter leader. And E’s entire Otter den was welcoming.

As her parents, having a 6 year old self identify as transgender, was a scary situation. We love her regardless and unconditionally. And when it clicked that she is trans, her whole world brightened.

But we worried about how others would treat her. We knew how scary the outside world can be.

But the one place we never worried about, was scouts. And I am so thankful to have them in our lives.

Because my youngest is not just trans, she, and her sister, have invisible needs.

B has severe ADHD and severe anxiety.

E has an expressive/receptive communication disorder, all the ADHD’s, severe social anxiety and sensory processing disorder. (I have been fighting to get her officially diagnosed with Autism. Different story.)

Our girls are amazing. They have their struggles and the cards they were genetially dealt…is not the best hand. But if you take the time to listen to them, to watch them, and learn from them, the world thru their eyes is inspiring.

We have what seems like so many more downs than ups. And I have developed PTSD from being a special needs parent.

Teaching our girls, can be uber difficult. Rewarding yes. But difficult nonetheless.

Our first year of scouts, E loved it, and participated in her group. She made so many friends.

And then we created the new group. Kids were getting older, language was getting harder, lessons were getting more advanced. And E was struggling.

She loved scouts. Looked forward to meetings and ccampouts. But last year, she spent more time being an honorary Timberwolf, than she did as an Otter.

I worked on Otter skills at home so she could still earn badges. But she was having a hard time. To a point that we almost decided to not re-register her this year.

But thankfully we did.

The only way an inclusive scouting organization can work, is to have leaders that are open minded, flexible, and care for each and every one of their scouts. As if they were their own kids.

So before this new scout year started, E’s otter leaders and I brainstormed how we could get her more engaged. We talked about so many options. They were willing to try anything.

Some things have worked. Some have not.

But this weekend, it all clicked. E had the best scout weekend ever. Maybe the best weekend ever.

I do not even know how to explain my immense pride and happiness that filled my heart watching her this weekend.

She played. She laughed. She interacted. She performed!!!!

During the formal campfire, she went up to perform not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES!!!!!!

And she was smiling. From ear to ear. And she was so happy.

So.

Happy.

She didnt get up there and hide. She didnt shut down and run off. She didnt cry.

She sang.

And she beamed.

And her daddy and I both looked at eachother over and over again, with jaws dropped, speechless. Our hearts about to burst from euphoria.

I had such a euphoric high that it took my mind off the pain from spraining my ankle…..again….

Anyways. Where was I?

My bestie wrote a comment under a picture of E taken this weekend. And it is a perfect summation of what I could not put in to words.

2 years ago, I discovered that I found my tribe, my purpose, my happy place, when we joined BPSA.

This weekend, so did E.

And that is why we joined BPSA.

B is getting there. And I am sure when that moment comes, it will be just as magical as this one.

But E needed this win.

I cannot imagine our life without scouts. Even if I wasnt a scout leader.

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