What the Den Leader Knew
by MaryAnn Gardner
Joe and Mary joined the Pack Committee the year their son, Clint, joined
the Pack. For the next two years that's where they stayed. As committee members they
occasionally put forth an opinion, but most of the time they said little. Instead, the
Pack got used to seeing them around. Whenever there was work being done, whether setting
up chairs for a normal Pack meeting or carrying tables and setting up the stage for the
Blue and Gold banquet, you could count on Joe's being there. That's what the Pack knew.
Clint's Den Leader knew more. Mary volunteered to assist at Den meetings. Her reliable
help (and Joe's) enabled the Leader to provide the Cub Scouts with the varied, interesting
program that the BSA intended.
When the den needed a flag pole, Joe fashioned one from cast iron, complete with stand.
It was just tall enough to handle the size flag the den used at its meetings. With their
own flag pole and stand, Den 3 was able to practice several times before taking their turn
in the flag ceremony at a Pack meeting.
Whenever the occasion called for it, Mary would provide dessert in the form of a cake
specially decorated in a Cub Scout theme. One time Joe brought watermelons to the meeting
and everyone got to try their skill at seed spitting.
Mary arranged for the Den to meet a local man who just happened to have been President
Truman's dentist when he lived in Independence, Missouri. In a room filled with
Presidential memorabilia, the elderly man sat with the Den and showed them things, and
told them tales, of his 80+ years of life. He kept about a dozen buffalo on his ranch. The
den was invited to ride with the ranch hands on the flat bed truck at feeding time. Strict
safety rules were established so no one would be in danger. The Cub Scouts got an
experience they could never duplicate.
When the Cub Scouts became Webelos, the Den Leader's husband took over as Webelos
Leader. Joe became the Assistant leader. The four adults continued to discuss the Den
program and work together to keep it interesting and to keep it advancing.
Joe did two particularly memorable things during his time as a Webelos Leader. First,
he took the Webelos to his sheet metal shop and helped them make tool carriers and several
other items which were proudly displayed at the next Pack meeting. Then, one hot afternoon
at camp, he instigated the water balloon attack on the Webelos Den Leader. This kindness
was returned at a Pack meeting during the holiday season when the Webelos Leader
instigated the ol' pet-reindeer-who-did-tricks-but-was-not-yet-potty-trained skit using
Joe as the person over whom the tricks were performed.
As graduation approached, at their last Den meeting the Webelos gave Joe a blue shirt
with this message: You never wore a uniform, so we decided to thank you by making you
an honorary Webelos. Here is your shirt and your neckerchief.
At their last Pack meeting as a Den, Webelos Den 2 had a new member. His shirt had no
patches, but, he wore it proudly with his Webelos neckerchief. He was a little taller than
the rest. However, when he sat with them on the floor, and shouted their den yell with
them whenever one of their group was recognized, you really couldn't tell that he (or his
wife) made any difference. But, the Den Leader knew.
* * *
Is there something you should do for someone today?