Happy Birthday Scouts!
Today, February 8, 2010, marks the 100 anniversary of Boy Scouts in America!
I loved my scouting experience: I built a kayak, a birdhouse, snow caves, fires, bridges, and teepees. I resuscitated a bald, bottomless girl named ANNIE. I camped, hiked, swam in a freezing cold lake, and white water rafted the Snake River. I learned the importance of helping others, of being honest and dependable. I learned to reverence my country and the outdoors.
I was heavily involved in Scouting from an early age. My dad was Scout Master from as far back as I can remember until I was about 10. I went on all the weeklong camps. The hikes. The overnighters. I was exposed to all the joys of being an honorable and hard working scout. I proudly saw my oldest brother achieve his Eagle and get tapped out for the Order of the Arrow. I was excited to be a part of this amazing fraternity.
I don’t remember much of my Cub Scouting years other than my Arrow of Light ceremony. It was in our church gym and there was a huge blue bridge at the front of the room. I remember the lights going out and crossing over the dimly lit bridge to my parents on the other side. I remember my mom’s beautiful face smiling. I remember her Wrigley spearmint gum breath and her warm arms as she hugged me.
When I turned twelve, I had a great Scout Master, Brother Reesor. He and his wife had a love for scouting that was contagious. I loved the campouts, the service projects, and the times we built stuff out of wood.
Now as a Cub Master, I get to relive all of the great things that scouting offers. The leaders that I work with are enthusiastic and excited to be a part of Scouts. I love the pack meetings and the activities. I love working on advancements. I love wearing the uniform. I found the neckerchief that I received when I got my Eagle. It’s blue material with a red and white ribbon around the edges. It has a beautiful embroidered eagle with its wings spread. It was packed away in a box in the garage. I’m glad I kept it.
Last month, my son and I participated in an intimate flag ceremony. (One of the requirements to achieve the Wolf rank is to lead an outdoor flag ceremony.) The only people there were my son, me, and our kind neighbor that let us use her flag and flagpole. She took a minute in the cold January night air to teach us about how to fold a flag and what the flag represents. We were both in full Scout uniform and as I saluted and watched my son hoist the flag up the spot lit pole, my heart was filled with pride: Pride for my son leading this reverent ceremony. Pride that he understood the importance of our country and what our flag symbolizes.
I am thankful for Scouting. As a boy, I loved the camaraderie and the activities. As a leader, I see the inspired and beneficial program that helps boys become better men.
Happy Birthday Scouts!