I was clearing out some old tat from work, and I found a picture drawn by one of the temps about ten years ago. You can probably guess which one is me. Over the years, a lot of people caricatured in the piccie have left – there are only three of us left from when this was drawn. One has left my line of work and became head of science in a secondary school in a remarkably short period of time. Five have taken promotion to other hospitals. Three have taken internal promotion. One has gone part time. Three have retired. One resigned and was last heard of somewhere off the coast of
Tonight I could have gone to the scout group AGM with er indoors TM . I chose not to. I just know what would have happened. There would have been a whole load of guilt laid on me about how they are crying out for leaders, and how they want me back. It’s now a year (and a bit) since I packed up with cubs and I don’t want to go back. I can’t get there for 5.30pm, so on the nights I could get there, I would always be late. And bearing in mind that my shifts are often given at rather short notice, I couldn’t guarantee to be along every week. And when I was a leader, I always thought that having an unreliable leader was worse than having no leader at all.
For twelve years I turned up religiously at (pretty much) every event that took place. Over the years I had some fun. I must have enjoyed it, to have kept going for so long. However most of my memories are of the obnoxious brats and the “spanners” who spoiled it for all the decent kids. If I were to go back, it would be on the strict understanding of “no brats or spanners whatsoever”. I don’t care how discriminatory that sounds, or actually is. Let me elaborate:
If a child has problems physically or mentally, but wants to take part, then fine. I would welcome them. However:
If the child is so bewildered by going to cubs that all they can do is stare in amazement, then they shouldn’t be there.
If the child is too terrified to even try to join in, then they shouldn’t be there.
If the child would rather spend the evening head-butting the wall or biting himself (and we had *loads* of those), then they shouldn’t be there.
If the child does nothing but cries constantly, then they shouldn’t be there.
If the child cannot shut up when asked to do so, then they shouldn’t be there.
If the child cannot go for more than a minute without the need to start fighting with other children, then they shouldn’t be there.
And if the child is forced along (against their will) by parents who know cheap baby sitting when they see it, then they shouldn’t be there.
In all the years that I was there, despite my protests we never chucked any brat out. And there were some very *special* cases, and some evil, nasty little thugs too. If I were to return I would reserve the right to chuck a brat out. With no recourse to appeal.
And the money. Despite having a very healthy bank balance, the scout association was (in my experience) a right load of penny pinchers. We would bend over backwards to subsidise people with more money than me.
But over my last year in scouting (and the time following) there have been three events that have really put me off going back.
- After being a leader for twelve years, I got given a five years service certificate.
- The chap who turned up intermittently to take the subs got given the medal for meritorious conduct.
- One of the ex-“spanners” kicked my garden fence down.
But that is just making justification for my real reason of not wanting to take up the woggle again. Quite simply, I don’t want to. I’ve done my bit. And I’m becoming a grumpy old git. I don’t have the patience I once had. It’s time for someone else to have a go. I remember many years ago when I was a leader in the Boys Brigade being told that the average leader in a youth organisation serves for two years. I did six times the national average. I think I’ve done my bit….