boy scouts... cub scouts... both big boys have signed up since our move down here. In Paddington, it was probably the most dork-tastic thing you could do and noone we knew was involved. Here plenty of boys (and lots of girls) don the uniform and dib, dib, dib, dob, dob, dob. Even the image conscious nearly-teen is a card carrying member complete, with the vintage Johnson hat (provided by the Salvos).

It's been a really refreshing addition to our weekly routine. They attend at a gnarly old hall which has hosted the local Scouts since the 1920's... the decades of writhing, sweaty bodies are soaked into the timbers and nothing has been done to deodorise or sanitise it in any way... refreshing.

The boys have been on more hikes, treks and bush outings in 12months than their entire lives. Jasper even went on an overnight trek into the bush with 5 other boys/teens - no adults. Unthinkable to most of my friends (actually I didn't have time to consider my true feelings about it because we arrived at the set-off point completely unawares that were going it alone, so I played it cool to spare him any embarrassment and then had a minor conniption on the drive home). We aint the Bear Grylls type of parent so this really compensates for our inadequacies. Starting fires, bashing about in the wilderness at night with a headlamp on, building giant multi-story structures... tying each other up. All good apparently.

There is saluting and strange left-handed handshakes that I don't know anything about... there are prayers, but there is a lot of respect + inclusiveness.

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