Independence, MO – It’s been a Scouting summer.
Joe and I went to camp in late June. It was a multitasking week as I buffeted between work in Kansas City and camp at the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in Osceola, Mo. My BlackBerry made it possible.
And it’s a good thing: Joe became a brave in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, donning the tribal name Praying Black Hawk. Having joined the tribe as a boy himself, dad – AKA Third Black Hawk – could not have been prouder as his older son reached a family milestone made possible by Troop 228’s and the Heart of America Council’s strong program, rich heritage and volunteers.
It was Kate’s turn next. She and Tom, our 7-year-old Wolf, spent a July week at Blue Elk District Cub Scout Day Camp. The sun was bright and the temperatures were high, but the fun outshined them.
During the day camp closing ceremony, leaders announced to the 350 children and adults that they’d selected Pack 228 to receive the Blue Elk District Day Camp Spirit Award for its energy and enthusiasm. It was a fitting honor made possible by Kate and other parents, who gave time before and during the week to ensure its success.
The next morning, Joe and I left with six boys and another leader for a troop high adventure trip in northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Like those at New Mexico’s Philmont Scout Ranch and Florida’s Sea Base, expeditions in the BWCAW push Scouts to ply and rely on their Scouting skills.
After 18 months of planning, the week exceeded even my chronically optimistic expectations. The landscape was breathtaking, the physical and mental challenges forged personal and group growth and the memories will last a lifetime. None of it would have occurred without a strong national high adventure program and a well-established planning template developed by troop leaders who made the same journey in 2004.
This Sunday, the high adventure crew will return to the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation. Tribesmen who took the BWCAW trip are eligible to receive Coups of the Long Trail, awarded by the Tribe of Mic-O-Say to those who complete treks like ours. The day trip to camp, which will rely on troop, district and council volunteers, will be a fitting conclusion to a Scouting summer whose memory and influence will grow stronger with each passing year.
Thanks for indulging my reverie. You’re right: I’m deeply committed to Scouting and the blueprint for healthy living it instills in young men.
More than that, though, I’m keenly aware that none of it would be possible without countless volunteers – parents, pack and troop leaders, district and council workers. That’s Scouting’s genius: Volunteers do jobs to which they’re committed, often because of their children’s involvement. The result is a uniquely tailored, sincerely delivered youth development program.
My passion is Scouting. Yours may be the important work of Community Services League, Hope House or Outreach International. Or it may be your church, school or neighborhood association.
Whatever it is, keep doing what you’re doing – and then some – for those things about which you care. Your involvement is essential to the organizations to which you’re committed, and nobody can give what you do as effectively as you can.