Edited by Jon C. Halter
Illustration by Bill Basso
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Getting down and dirty
For our Western-theme day camp, I was in charge of activities for the "Me-Too's"staff members' children who were not Cub Scouts. On the final day of camp, an hour before the closing ceremony, we held a "Let's see who can get dirtiest" competition. The kids got very dirty every day, of course, but this was a green light to really put on the grime.
Then, as we were walking toward the closing ceremony site, they stopped me in the middle of the trail and said, "Miss Bunny, you're not dirty enough!"
"Well, let's fix that," I responded, as I sat down and proceeded to let them dump dirt all over me.
At the ceremony site, the adults serving lemonade and cookies looked me over and asked, "What happened?"
We all laughed when I told them about our "contest." And I knew I would be back at camp the following summerthis was just too much fun!
Autumn S. (Miss Bunny) Jeffrey
Need a knot? Ask a Scout
I was 17 and a registered Boy Scout when I joined the Navy during World War II. One day during basic training, our unit marched into a wooded area and stopped at a clearing where we saw a hitching rack and four instructors with ropes in their hands.
"Are any of you Boy Scouts?" one instructor asked. Several of us raised our hands.
"Good. Come up here and help us show the others how to tie knots!"
The Navy only required knowing how to tie seven knots; we Scouts knew at least nine.
The instructor never questioned whether we knew how to tie the knots. And that's why I often tell this story to Scouts. It emphasizes the importance of living up to the standards of Scouting that the world, in recognizing the value of those standards, has come to expect of a Scout.
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 36
Was that Mr. or Mrs. Moose?
On a troop canoe trip in northern Maine, I was awakened early one morning by loud whispers of "Look at the size of that moose!"
Our campsite was on one side of the narrow end of a lake, and near the other shore I could see a huge bull moose feeding in the water.
I also saw Eric, one of our younger and more adventurous Scouts, furiously paddling a canoe toward the animal. We had warned everyone to give any moose a wide berth, but the other Scouts said Eric was determined "to get some good closeup photos."
I put on a PFD, got in a canoe, and went after Eric. But before I could catch up to his canoe, the moose, startled by the noise from an outboard motor, left the water and disappeared into the woods.
The approaching motorboat belonged to a park ranger, who stopped to talk to us about the moose.
"Was that a cow or a bull? he asked Eric, who had been closer than anyone to the animal.
"No, no!" replied Eric, who was still pretty excited about the experience. "It was a moose!"
Scoutmaster, Troop 35
Cheerfulness works wonders
At the supermarket where I work, sacking and carrying customers' groceries to their cars is not difficult, but it can be boring. (Asking customers "Paper or plastic?" and "How are you today?" become automatic after just a few weeks on the job.)
To overcome the monotony, I try to have actual conversations with customers, regardless of how bored or distracted I may feel inside. As a result, I am noted among the "carry-outs" for my cheerfulness.
On a day that had been particularly bad for me, I started a conversation with a customer and her daughter, who was about 9. The little girl seemed depressed, and I teased her good-naturedly about helping mom shop. Finally, she smiled and laughed a bit.
After the girl got into the car, her mother stopped and thanked me for getting her daughter to smile. She said her husband had left them without warning or explanation just five days earlier. The daughter blamed her mother for this and hadn't smiled or said a word to her since.
The Order of the Arrow Obligation includes the pledge to "preserve a cheerful spirit, even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities"and what better example of cheerfulness "paying off" can you have?
Cheerfulnesswhich with Brotherhood and Service form the three great principles of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's "Brotherhood of Cheerful Service"had helped me, even when not feeling so cheerful myself, bring cheer to someone else.
Joe Bomba(The above was adapted from a first-person account that initially appeared in "Trailsigns," the Buckeye Council newsletter.)
Lodge Chief, Sipp-O Lodge #377
Eagle card was carte blanche
One Saturday in the 1960s, two friends and I took the bus from our town to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. We planned to rent bicycles and spend the day visiting the planetarium, a museum, and an amusement park.
However, the woman in charge of the bicycles said we could not rent them without leaving a driver's license as security. We were only 15 years old and didn't have licenses, so I asked if she would consider keeping my driving learner's permit.
She asked to see it and as I opened my wallet she noticed my new Eagle Scout card.
"Are you an Eagle Scout?" she asked.
"Yes, I am."
"In that case, you can all take bikes. I trust you and know you'll bring them back."
We spent an enjoyable day at the park. But beyond that, I learned a valuable lesson about my ongoing responsibilityto live up to the example set by those Eagle Scouts who had gone before me.
Former Scoutmaster, Troop 587
Lessons long remembered
A few years ago, Toni Lanford, the president of our local United Way, found among the papers of her late father, "Big Tony" Stark, a copy of a speech that he had delivered in the mid-1970s.
Stark was about 65 at the time and his speech was supposed to be about the book which he believed had had the most impact on the development of his character.
But he talked instead of a "living book" that had been "written" by those individuals who most influenced his life. He described teachers, a pharmacist, and people in his chosen career in the National Park Service.
However, the first person he spoke of was his Scoutmaster:
"The first paragraph of this book was written by a Mr. Daniels, who was the Scoutmaster of a troop I joined on my 12th birthday. By example and by careful teaching, he tried to develop in each boy an understanding and appreciation for the Scout Oath. He gave cheerfully of his time to take us on frequent overnight hikes, which took place regardless of the weather.
"Not realizing what was taking place, we learned to be self-reliant, not to let adversity stop us, and to attempt to overcome difficulty by helping each other, as Mr. Daniels was helping us...."
After more than 50 years, he still appreciated the value of the lessons taught by his Scoutmaster and how they had helped him throughout his life.
Whenever we, as Scouters, wonder if the work we do is worthwhile, we only need to think of "Big Tony" Stark and his "living book."
Scoutmaster, Troop 111
March-April 2000 Table of Contents
Copyright © 2000 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.
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