Edited by Bryan Wendell
A brush with nature
While attending summer camp in July, one of our younger Scouts, who is easily scared, had gone to bed for the night. A few moments later, the boy and his tentmate bolted outside in a panic.
Terrified, they said they heard something “buzzing in the tent.” While they nervously waited outside, another leader and I went to investigate, expecting to find a bee or some other kind of winged creature.
But after searching for a few seconds, I found the source of the noise: a battery-operated toothbrush that had “come alive” in one of the Scout’s backpacks. Their faces were really red when I emerged from the tent holding the noisy culprit in front of me.
Idaho: Not known for its pineapples
At a recent pack meeting, some Webelos Scouts were discussing a number of ways to “save the Earth.” One Scout mentioned that it was important to buy produce that was locally grown.
After the meeting, I visited with him. I pointed out that locally grown produce is a good idea. However, since we live in Idaho with a short summer growing season, he might get tired of potatoes and miss bananas and pineapple.
He smiled and said, “That’s OK. Pineapple is locally grown in Hawaii.”.
The founding father (of Scouting, that is)
In our family, Scouting is usually the main topic of discussion. Whether we’re chatting about the next camp-out, troop meeting, or service project, the general topic rarely changes from the Scouting program.
Because of this passion, our sons have heard countless stories of Scouting’s illustrious history.
When our youngest son, Steven, was a Bear Cub Scout, we were discussing our country’s heritage. When asked who the founding father of the United States of America was, he surprised us with his confident response: “Baden-Powell.”
A dry sense of humor
At an Introduction to Camping weekend for new Boy Scouts, an adult leader made a presentation on Leave No Trace. During the weekend, it had rained a little—enough to wet the field where we were camping.
When it was time to break camp, one Scout noticed that the spot under his tent was dry. In the spirit of Leave No Trace, he asked if he should get some water to make the spot blend in with the rest of the field.
Do as I say ... sort of
As a Scouter, I am often reminded how important it is to communicate clearly, concisely, and completely. On a recent camp-out, we were cleaning up after lunch when one of the Venturers asked what she should do with half a can of leftover mixed vegetables.
“Put them in a ziplock bag, and put them in the cooler,” I told her.
Later, I was digging through the cooler when I discovered the bag with an extra surprise inside.
“You didn’t tell me to take them out of the can,” she said.
Opossum, the other white meat
For a number of years, I’ve demonstrated cooking techniques with our troop. One year, I brought strips of meat and jokingly told the Scouts that I was cooking “road-kill opossum.” This was met with some skepticism. So I asked what they thought I was cooking.
One Scout said “Mr. Diehl, that’s chicken.” Another said that it was beef. I replied that the meat was definitely not beef or chicken.
Then, giving up, a younger Scout said, “Well, if it’s not beef or chicken, I guess it must really be opossum.”
In Texas, where beef is king, none of the Scouts thought of pork.
Something doesn't add up
I’m the Committee Chairperson for our Cub Scout Pack, and my husband is the pack’s Quartermaster. Our son, who recently earned the rank of Bear, had been studying mathematical fractions in school when he asked me:
“So, Ma, if Pa gets promoted in the pack committee, does he become a Half-master?”
Catch and release
After a recent canoe trip on the Namekagon River in Wisconsin, one of our first-year boys left his Scout book on a rock at the landing. A few days later the book arrived in the mail along with the following letter:
“Fly-fishing late afternoon Sunday near the McDowell Landing on the Lower Namekagon, something caught my attention—your manual on a rock near the bank. Remembering the Boy Scout slogan, I tucked it into my vest and decided to do what I could to get it back to you. I hope it finds you safely and intact. Keep up the good work with the Scouts. Some of those lessons will stick with you. God’s Speed, A Fisherman.”
We recently took some Scouts on a shopping trip to local grocery stores in order to satisfy a First Class requirement regarding making a shopping list and pricing the items for a specific menu.
We like to check to make sure that this life skill is well learned, so questions get asked and answered in this exercise.
Toward the end of our trip, one young Scout piped up and asked, “Fred, are you going to ask any more questions? My head hurts!”
Who turned on that light?
One night I was enjoying my slumber in the darkness at Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch, which is located in rugged, dry West Texas, far from the intruding electric lights of any urban community.
Suddenly, a light came on, and I was startled out of my sleep, like a suspect suddenly under interrogation with a lamp in my face.
Drowsily, I demanded that the culprit turn off the light. When nothing happened, I went outside to locate the source of the light, and, looking up, I realized a bright moon had risen over the ridge of the mountains.
The effect was as if someone had, indeed, turned on a light. The only way I could hope to get back to sleep was to reverse my position on my cot, with my head well inside my tent.
John R. Becker
Right on target
About 10 years ago when my son Taylor was a Cub Scout, he participated in his first Cub Scout Day Camp and came home excited about his accomplishment on the archery range. He proudly announced that he hit a bull’s-eye and was the only Cub Scout to do so.
After I congratulated him, Taylor then cheerfully informed me that the bull’s-eye he hit was actually on somebody else’s target. We were proud anyway!
Fond memories of my Scouting experiences go back to Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, N.M.
Although oblivious to the now-infamous UFO lore there, we were very rich in leadership and outdoor adventures. One evening we gathered in the backyard of Major Garrett, a navigator skilled in astronomy.
He pointed out various features of the Land of Enchantment’s night sky: Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, and we hung onto his every word.
Maintaining his serious teaching poise, he shifted our attention to a moving object that had blinking red and green lights. “And that one,” he said, “is Aeroplaneus.”
Dressed for success
One year, we had eight wide-eyed Tenderfoot Scouts attending their first summer camp. For many, it was their first time away from home. “Taps” is played at 10 p.m. sharp, and the rule states no talking or making noise until reveille the next morning.
As a joke, I told the boys they had better be out of bed and fully dressed in field uniforms before the bugler finished playing, or else they would have to clean the adult latrines after breakfast.
That night, they went to bed an hour early.
In the morning, just as the bugler began to play reveille, I watched in amazement as eight Tenderfoots scurried from their bunks and snapped to attention fully dressed in field uniforms.
Later, I discovered the boys had been so worried about being singled out for such an onerous duty that they had slept all night in their uniforms.
David J. Barber
Judged by what we wear
Several years ago we took our troop to the Cincinnati Museum Center. It was storming outside, and while we were in the lobby area waiting for our Scouts to gather for lunch, a complete stranger came into the museum with two children.
He approached us and asked if we would watch his kids, who were both less than 5 years old, while he parked his car. We agreed. Even though there were dozens of people in the museum lobby, he saw us in uniform and knew he could temporarily leave his most precious possessions with us.
I quickly realized that it was the Scout uniform, not us, that he knew he could trust.
Don't get hot-headed, Dad
A while back, a dad greeted his new Scout after their first night of a fall weekend camp-out. The dad asked his son how he had slept in his brand new cold-weather sleeping bag.
The Scout answered, “I didn’t use it. You told me that you lose 90 percent of your heat through your head, so I just wore three hats.”