Cub Scouts vs. Bureaucrats
I went for what I thought would be a quiet walk in Earl Warren Park (Castro Valley) earlier this week and there were hundreds of rambunctious little boys running around everywhere! Turns out it was Cub Scouts Day Camp and the little guys in their olive green shirts and straw hats were immersed in various activities around the park. They looked like they were having a ball.
I chatted with one of the adults in attendance and he ended up telling me about their troubles over the past years with the archery competition, which had taken place earlier in a roped-off area nearby. Between a complaining neighbor whose house was nowhere near enough the park to dream of being affected and the rotating leadership of Hayward Parks & Rec., which would issue a permit one year (and yes, you need a permit--for everything) just to deny it the next year, he was getting exasperated with all the obstacles. And who could blame him?
It seemed to me yet another example of how we're bureaucratizing ourselves--and particularly our childhoods--into oblivion. Yet somehow American institutions such as the Cub Scouts (the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were also in attendance) live on . . . for now.