Edited by Scott Daniels
Hook, line, and determination
The Scouts in our sons’ troop were spending a day at a local lake to work on their Fishing merit badge. Unlike most of the Scouts, one boy did not bring a pole or tackle. However, after exploring the bank of the lake, he found an old fishing hook and some discarded line. He connected these to a long stick, then caught a grasshopper and placed it on the hook.
Amazingly, he then caught a fish — the biggest fish that any Scout caught the entire day, regardless of the quality of poles, tackle, or bait. It served as an example to the rest of the troop of what a little determination can do.
A churning experience
In 1943, as a 12-year-old Boy Scout, I went on an overnight hike with a canteen of milk on my hip to use to make pancakes for a cooking requirement. This was before homogenized milk was common, and cream always rose to the top when milk was stored in a container.
When we arrived at the campsite, I discovered a ball of butter in the neck of my canteen. The constant shaking of the milk on my hip had turned the cream into butter!
Needless to say, along with milk to make my pancakes, I was happy to have butter to put on them when they were ready to eat.
A Scoutmaster’s ‘paycheck’
Although Scouting volunteers work without monetary remuneration, over the years I have received a number of “paychecks” as a Scoutmaster in forms other than money.
The one I remember best was during a campout on a rainy weekend in the late 1950’s. Dinner preparation was slow due to wet firewood, and the constant rain dampened everyone’s spirits during the evening campfire.
After the Scouts had gone to bed, I gave the campsite a final inspection before turning in. I was making sure the campfire was completely out when our newest and youngest Scout walked up and joined me as I stared at the ashes.
Being cold and wet, I admit that I had been feeling somewhat sorry for myself. But then the Scout, water dripping off the end of his nose, looked at me and said: “Mr. Yater, I want you to know I am having the most fun I have ever had in my whole life!”
It was a “paycheck” I will never forget.
Paul A. Yater
No watches in this deal
We had informed our Scouts that our trip to Great Salt Plains Lake in north central Oklahoma included a “free eagle watch.”
At the lake, after hiking in to the observation area, the Scouts lay on the ground in silence to wait for the eagles to appear. Eventually we saw several bald eagles fly in and roost. It was a grand sight to behold such majestic birds.
After we had left the observation area, one of my young Scouts asked me very seriously when they were going to get their free watches.
“Yeah, our free watches,” the other Scouts echoed.
I had to explain that we had not had to pay anything to observe the bald eagles, but no wristwatches, free or otherwise, were involved in the arrangement.
Copyright © 2007 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.