Edited by Jon C. Halter
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The proud father of an Eagle Scout once described to me a bump his son, who is now an adult, had experienced along the trail to Eagle.
The Scout had worked tirelessly on the physical tests for the Personal Fitness merit badge, such as 25 push-ups and five pull-ups. When he was ready to demonstrate his ability to meet the standards, the Scout selected a merit badge counselor from the council's roster and arranged to meet with him at his office at a local bank.
Following a brief introductory discussion with the counselor, the Scout began demonstrating his ability to meet the push-up requirement.
Perplexed, the counselor asked, "What merit badge are you working on?"
When the Scout answered "Personal Fitness," the counselor replied, "Well, I am a counselor for Personal Finances merit badge!"
The Scout politely excused himself and returned home to look more carefully at the merit badge counselor list.
A.C. Moyer II
Editor's Note: Not that the above incident had anything to do with it, but the Personal Finances merit badge has since been changed to the Personal Management merit badge.
Where does the den meet?
During my presentation to some families interested in starting a Cub Scout pack in their small town, I mentioned that the leader who works with a small group of boys at a weekly den meeting is called a den leader. I then noted that some men in the audience might recall that, when they were Cub Scouts, this person was known as a den mother.
At the conclusion of my 20-minute presentation, I asked if anyone had a question.
A small first-grade boy with an excited look on his face raised his hand and then asked, "When do we get our cave mothers so we can get started?"
Brad Schott Development Officer
Brand X just won't do
We were unpacking refreshments for our troop's winter court of honor when one Scout noticed we had purchased several different brands of soft drinks. He hoisted a bottle of his favorite soft drink's major competitor and asked, "Why did we get this?"
"Because it was on sale," I responded and seized the opportunity to remind him: "A Scout is thrifty."
The Scout dutifully set the bottle on the table, where he was arranging the beverages in neat rows.
"Well, I won't drink that brand," he declared, then smiled and pointed out with emphasis: "A Scout is loyal."
Marilyn R. Dunsmore
Too sunny to see the compass
It was late in the afternoon as we drove toward the site of the fall camporee, and the young Scouts in my vehicle were talking about the weekend's activities, which included an orienteering event.
Some newer Scouts had never been through an orienteering course; in fact, they lacked basic map and compass and outdoor navigation knowledge. I briefly explained how a compass works and then described how to use the stars to find your way at night.
In the front seat, a Scout who had been holding a hand to his forehead to block the glare from the setting sun, had a question.
"What direction are we going right now?" he inquired. I suddenly realized that this group of young Scouts was going to learn a lot on this campout.
Right group, wrong motto
My mom is treasurer of Pack 347, which stores its supplies in a cabinet at the Oceanlake Elks Club, the chartered organization for both the pack and Troop 347.
Before a pack meeting in the park, we went to the club to get a flag from the cabinet. When my mom realized she didn't have the cabinet key, we asked a member of the Elks if he would open the cabinet for us.
As he was unlocking the door, the lodge member noticed that my younger brother, Ben, was wearing a Cub Scout uniform.
"Aren't you supposed to 'be prepared'?" he asked.
"No," Ben replied, "I just have to 'do my best.'"
Only if they're Cub Scouts
Mr. Sabol, are there any bears around here?"
"No, there are no bears around here."
"Are you sure there are no bears?"
This was the gist of the conversation I had with Martin on his first camping trip since joining our troopand also the first night he had spent away from his family.
Martin was experiencing Scouting from an 11-year-old's frame of reference. Yes, the woods were dark, and there were a lot of different sounds even though our campsite was almost in downtown Orange Park, Fla. But through his eyes and ears, we were in a deep, dark place where all kinds of wild creatures lived.
As we adults get older, it becomes more and more difficult to experience our program through a boy's eyes and ears. But we must work to maintain that perspective.
To work its magic in shaping a boy's life, Scouting must retain the excitement of new experiences.
We must not let our own personal growth as adults erase the adventure that lies in such simple activities as a weekend camping trip.
In Martin's case, we could have been in the upper reaches of the Amazon River.
When the boys stop asking, "Are there any bears around here?" maybe we need to look at the program we are offering and add some new experiences.
Andrew E. (Andy) Sabol
Editor's note: The above item was adapted from Scouting for Memories, by Andy Sabol. That book, Scouting for More Memories, and Scouting for Even More Memoriescollections of "little Scouting stories"are available for $12 each, post-paid, from the North Florida Council, Attn: Customer Service, 521 S. Edgewood Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32205-5359, (904) 388- 0591.
A dime from the past
This 55-year BSA veteran was showing a class of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) the first-aid kit and snake-bite equipment I used as a Boy Scout. My Scoutmaster of long ago always insisted that the inside lid of our personal first-aid kit include a coin for a pay phone.
The class had a good laugh when I opened my tin kit and found a shiny dime taped to the lid. A few of the students could recall pay phones at that price.
But fewer understood the phrase "Make this call fast; it's my nickel."
I have seen the same BSA first-aid kit, a tin box with latch, selling for $25 or more in collector's shops. The dressings in mine were still sealed and fresh. I wonder if the new cell phones and GPS devices used today for emergencies will last as well as my still, mint-new first-aid equipment and coin from the 1940s.
Alan J. Stolz
A greeting for 'Blue'
Our assistant Cubmaster was explaining the coming popcorn sales campaign to Cub Scouts and parents at a pack meeting when his 2-year-old daughter, carrying a blue stuffed animal, walked up to him and said in a loud voice, "Daddy!"
He bent down so she could whisper in his ear, and then announced, "This is my daughter." But before he could resume his presentation, the little girl said in an even louder voice, "Daddy!!"
He bent down again and then, with a confused, somewhat embarrassed look, added, "And this is 'Blue.'"
Before he could continue, some of my Webelos Scouts, in a tone one would expect from older brothers, responded loudly, "Hi, Blue!"
At this point the little girl, with one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen on a 2-year old, turned around and walked back to her seat.
A true 'fortune'
I recently served on staff at a council training course. We arrived early to set up and rather than take time to cook supper, one of us went into town to pick up some Chinese take-out food for the staff to eat before the trainees arrived.
When I opened my fortune cookie, I found the following words: "Volunteering your time is true giving."
What could be more appropriate for a Scout leader?
Mark W. Arend
October 2001 Table of Contents
Copyright © 2001 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.