It's no secret that people sometimes have trouble communicating. If
you are having difficulty explaining the "essence" of Scouting to someone,
perhaps you should try the method used here, in this tale (which is based on a true
story). The moral? "If all else fails, try a campfire."
He Said: Our son should join
She said: Tell me what
He said: Well, the Boy Scouts
of America says that Scouting offers a "...time-tested set of activities that have
produced fine citizens, dedicated family members, and strong community leaders for more
than 90 years."
She Said: I want our son to
take part, if it's worthwhile. But, I know very little about Scouting. Tell me more.
He said: Scouting teaches
positive values. As the BSA says, It has activities that "...build personal fitness,
social skills, and leadership." I'm a Scout myself, you know.
She Said: I know I'm supposed
to be impressed when told someone is an Eagle Scout. But, no one ever says what that
means. I know that cub scouts wear blue shirts - and boy scouts wear tan shirts. What
He Said: Scouting's
activities are time-tested. Scouting has a big part in producing "...good citizens,
caring family members and dedicated community leaders."
She Said: I know adults who
are Scout leaders. I'd like to be a Den Leader - if it's fun. You know me, though. I
always like to try a new approach. Is the entire program planned step by step, or is there
a chance for me to use my creativity? Will our son have a good time? Or, will it be like
going to another school with more homework? This is supposed to be recreation, isn't it?
He Said: Scouting provides
"...wholesome, educational activities for young people. They go outdoors, have a
chance for advancement, the opportunity to be recognized for their achievements, and
belong to an organization that promotes good values. "
She Said: But, is it FUN?.
He Said: Come with me.
So, they attended a "Last-Night-of-Webelos-Camp" Closing Campfire. First,
they toured the Nature Center, the Waterfront, the Trading Post, the Rifle Range, the
Then, they walked to the Parade Ground where she watched the Scouts, in ceremony,
retire the colors. Later, they joined in singing the Grace before they sat down to eat
with the Scouts in the dining room.
He suggested they sit in the back row for the campfire so she could see everything that
went on. She watched as the Scouts walked reverently into the Council Ring. She noticed
uniforms - of Scoutmasters, of Camp Staff, of Boy Scouts, of Cub Scouts, of Den Leaders.
He pointed out the various patches, and neckerchiefs, and numerals, and their meanings, to
She watched and listened and laughed and clapped as the Camp Staff performed silly
skits. Then, marveled at the chaotic, yet controlled, group participation, as the Scouts
released boyhood energy through cheers and yells - and sat in respectful silence when a
leader spoke, or a prayer was recited.
Though awed by the moving fire ceremony performed by Arrowmen from the Council Lodge,
she was just as moved by those scouts who stood, and lined the exit paths with
flashlights, as everyone returned to their campsites.
She saw it all that night. The achievement, the values, the work, the service, the
excitement, the fun. She understood. She knew their son must have this, too.
They signed up that September. They signed up this September. There have been twenty
years in between. Each year has had days, weeks, and months devoted to Scouting. Their son
became an Eagle Scout. So did his younger brother. He and she have been both Scout Parents
and Scout Leaders. The family continues to be involved in Scouting. It has given them some
of their oldest, dearest, friends - and - some of their youngest, dearest
friends (the college kids who stop by when home on break).
Their youngest son, who had heard this story many times through the years, said it best
at his Eagle Court of Honor. As he ended his speech in response to the Eagle Challenge he
said, "Oh, one more thing I need to mention. Thanks Dad! Smart move - taking Mom to