My Entire Family Participated in Boy Scouts, But My Sister Never Got a Badge

My father, the first Eagle Scout I ever knew, made time to participate as a leader in scouting with us, especially as my brothers and I moved through the ranks. My dad’s brother Jose is also an Eagle Scout. My late grandfather got as far as Life Scout -- no mean achievement in the Alice, Texas, of the Depression. And I am, as are my two brothers Guillermo Alonso and Carlos David, Eagle Scouts.But when I started in Cub Scouts, it was my mother who was my first leader. My experience of Scouting through the 1980s would not have been possible without participation by my entire family, and that especially includes my mother and sister. The six of us in our immediate family always made a point of attending and participating in all Scouting events. Whether it was chaperoning a camping trip, or setting up tables and booths at the annual Scout Fair at Houston’s Astro Hall, my mother Alma and my sister Maria were always present and these experiences remain some of my most cherished memories of growing up. My sister wore the uniform of a Brownie and a Girl Scout for many years. But she always enjoyed the Boy Scout trips, and she proved herself just as capable of setting up camp or using a compass or responding to an emergency as the Boy Scouts. I can't help thinking that sharing in all of our Boy Scout experiences helped my sister land employment with REI, where she set sales records for knowing the gear and advising clientele on what they would need to head outdoors, prepared and safe. Us boys earned the patches and badges and ranks, and it bothered me that my sister could not wear the same uniform as me and my brothers or receive similar recognition as she acquired the same skills.   Continue reading...

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