|Boy Scouts With God Reverence
Author: Harry's Scar PM
This is a story about my growing interests, where I relate my experiences in boy scouts to my experiences in the ministry. Read for a message of adventure and spiritual activities.Rated: Fiction K - English - Adventure/Spiritual - Chapters: 5 - Words: 14,694 - Reviews: 3 - Updated: 11-02-12 - Published: 12-30-11 - id: 2983939
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Ah, the fine memories of cub scouting…
I joined in first grade as a Tiger Cub, and I was excited to find a new set of friends. You see, before Kindergarten I was a very shy young boy, and sometime during kindergarten I decided to talk to everyone. Yes, one day I came home from school and told my mom, "I'm going to talk to everyone now." Don't ask me how it happened, I don't even remember. But the point is that I had just made that resolution when my parents persuaded me to join scouting. I wanted to see the world, and what else there was besides my own family and household. I guess you could call this my exploring stage in life; first grade. This may be totally unrelated right now, but I think this moment, the moment in kindergarten when I decided I wanted to see the world, was the first baby step into my faith journey with God. Now that I look back on it, the possibility that is just hitting me now as I write this, is that God may have been the One to randomly put that thought into my head. It was then that He decided he wanted me to serve Him as a minister. I would not know until eighth grade, but it was this moment, I feel, in kindergarten, that God chose me.
So naturally I joined scouting when my parents first suggested the idea to me. I was in my exploring stage. I wanted to see the world. Scouting was just another way that I could see the world. Scouting was just another way to explore what was outside of my little house I lived in, and actually see what was in the outdoors. This notion to join scouting was my second baby step in my faith journey, I feel, as I now look back on my life from here, in tenth grade.
You see, my dad had been a boy scout when he was a boy, and he liked it enough to get his son, me, into it as well. He never became an Eagle Scout, but a Star scout, and he had no intention in me getting Eagle Scout either, but he wanted me to be introduced. So there I was one day, with my parents, chatting with my new den leader, Mrs. Casey. Mrs. Casey was a fine lady with soft brown hair falling down on her shoulders and that tone in her smile and laugh that just made everyone else just want to laugh with her. She was very kindhearted. When I asked to join, because she was just forming her own den of boys, hers included, she readily smiled and allowed me in at all other costs. "The bigger my new den, the better," she said.
Now, before I go further, I think it logical to fill the reader in on a few details. Mrs. Casey's husband was the cub-master of the pack of which Mrs. Casey was forming her new den. Johnny was the name of their boy who would also participate in this den. There were seven others as well, all from my elementary school, Calf Pen Meadow. This pack, in fact, held weekly Thursday meetings in my school's multi-purpose room, for it was a very small school that had a room for assemblies, plays, orientations, gym classes, and lunch waves. My new den met every Wednesday evening next to a particular restaurant called Sloppy José's' in the section of our small city called Morningside.
Now there is a reason why I included this seemingly trivial point, the name of the section of the town I live in where these meetings took place. Well, in my view, it is not trivial in the least. As noted earlier in this chapter, Cub Scouting was like the baby steps of my faith journey. (I will note each step as it seems to come into play throughout these chapters.) Well, take this name apart: Morningside. Morning is when a new day breaks, a new idea, when even a new life begins. Cub Scouting was the first month of my spiritual birth, I guess you could say, however weird or confusing it may sound. It was a new life in me, begun. This idea will develop further as you read on in how my interest for the ministry developed, but for that you will have to wait for further chapters to be released.
Alright, so now you are filled in with the "unimportant" details (for they will really be very important in the development of this "plot" as you will see). My tiger cub uniform was an orange shirt with a black outline of a sitting tiger over the heart. My hat was orange with a blue rim in front. I had a tiger cub handbook as well, with requirements for optional belt loops and pins I could earn. It was an opportunity to take initiation for what we would be required to do as our journey continued. The ranks in Cub Scouting were mainly based on grade, but there were certain requirements that we had to meet in order to pass each level, just like in boy scouting, except simpler. An example might be to draw a fire escape plan of our house. They were simple. There was also a Leave No Trace badge to earn, exercising the proverb to "leave only footprints, take only pictures" when you go hiking in the woods. No one likes to see trash littered on a hiking path, where they went to experience peace. No one wants to miss out on the wonderfully colored rock mysteriously growing on the side of the trail for all to see. If you take it, that beauty will no longer exist for all to see, but for you alone. This is disobeying one of the twelve rules of boy scouting, common courtesy. But we'll come to that when I get to that chapter. However, just as a cub will eventually become an adult bear, cub scouting is preparing a boy for what will come later in life through its requirements and options, which will bring me again to the topic of boy scouting.
However, I must not stray from the purpose of this chapter. The title is "Cub Scout Memories." So, I must tell you what else I remember from cub scouting at this point in time.
First, in one quick statement, I will go over the ranks of Cub Scouting, which I should have done earlier but will do now so as not to confuse you further. As you may have guessed, a common first grader is a Tiger Cub. In second grade you move on to be a Wolf. As a third grader, you are likely a Bear. Once you move on to fourth grade, you will likely find yourself a Webelos I. And, lastly, fifth grade brings you Webelos II, the last rank before boy scouting. The requirements to become a boy scout are to be eleven, to have completed the fifth grade and be at least ten years old, or to be in fifth grade and have earned the Arrow of Light Award, which is a special award you can get as a Webelos Scout. This is the only patch, or pin as they have become more "advanced", that you may wear as a true boy scout. Lastly, I think it is worth noting that Webelos is the only rank in Cub Scouting that is not the name of an animal. You may have been confused by that. In fact, Webelos is an acronym for the phrase, "WE BE LOyal Scouts." It is again introducing another point of the scout law, when you come to boy scouting, that must be memorized in boy scouting; A scout is loyal. Again, cub scouting is a program that serves as an introductory program to the boy scouting program, but sadly a lot of cub scouts do not chose to go on to boy scouting. So, sadly, they do not gain the full experience, for it is an introduction, not a supplement or substitution.
I remember camping a few times a year, to introduce camping once a month in boy scouting. My dad always came with me, to stick by my side throughout the scouting program, as he has even to this day, because he has gone through all this before. Once, I even remember camping on the outfield grass of the Bluefish Baseball Stadium in Bridgeport, a minor league team. We went to the game, watched the fireworks, and then went to our cars to get our camping gear and spent the night there. It was a great experience, of which I will likely never have again. So I must take the time here to say that boy scouting, and cub scouting, brought me many very great opportunities that I would never have experienced without it. I can never thank the program enough for all the experiences and skills it has given me, which I made sure I included in my Eagle Scout speech which I will get to in a later chapter.
There are two more special events of cub scouting I wish to touch on. Actually, three. I will list them here in case I get so involved in writing that I forget one of them, because I tend to do that a lot, rambling on about nothing. Well, actually, I'm doing that right now. See what I mean. Okay, they are the Blue and Gold dinners, the Pinewood Derby Races, and the Raingutter Regattas.
My pack held a Blue and Gold Dinner each year in February to celebrate the birthday of cub scouting. The birthday of scouting is February 8th, and each February we met to have a dinner together. There were different themes and contests each year. We had the annual cake bake that my dad and I always had fun participating in. Some criteria were the most decorative cake, the most colorful, the largest and smallest, the cake with the most scout spirit… and so on. One year I baked a Herbie cake, another year I made a bear hat, and then a scout symbol. I think we got pretty creative some years. I won a few ribbons as well. But that is never the important part. Most important is that I had fun, and I certainly did. Each year there were great dinners (celebrated in the Knights of Columbus Hall) and wonderful fellowship. It got me introduced to the wonderful, spectacular times I would soon have when I joined boy scouting in May of 2007.
Another aspect of cub scouting I would like to touch on is the Pinewood Derby Races, which also took place annually, usually in the fall. All scouts received a kit to make a small wooden car, about ten inches long maybe, to our design. I made a Lightening McQueen, a Herbie, a police car, a gold car, and a blue car. I put little lego people in the drivers seat to "drive" the car, for they were the perfect size. Then, on racing day, we all got together in the auditorium and raced them down a short, straight wooden track. Each car had many chances to show its ability, and then we had semi-finals and finals. My car made it into the final race of four cars once, but it came in last in that race. Still, out of fifty cars, it is pretty good I guess. It was always exciting.
Another similar race of cub scouting happened in the spring, called the Raingutter Regatta. We received a boat kit, and got to design our own mini sailboat, about as large as the Pinewood Derby cars mentioned above. In a gutter, like off the roof of a house, we raced our boats once they were filled with water (obviously). We had the same levels as the Pinewood Derby, except instead of six cars racing at one time, we had two boats racing at one time. We needed four wins to advance to the semifinals, in which there were eight boats. You can probably imagine the rest from there, and the details are really irrelevant. This was also a fun event of racing and snacks.
There were also the popcorn sales. Each year we sold many different types of popcorn: caramel, chocolate-covered (that was really good) kettle, regular, butter, cheesy, walnut, etc. I remember watching movies for months after the sales eating this popcorn. We finally finished it and caught up, because now in boy scouts I sell a different item for fundraisers; wreaths. But I'll get to that.
Now I come to my crossover. I found Troop One quickly after surveying three troops in my area. One troop was too strict, one was too disorganized, and one was just the right size. This troop where I felt right at home was Troop One.
Three representatives from Troop One came to my crossover from Webelos to Boy Scouts. They were Mr. Healy, Mr. Pramuka, and Evan Rule. The first two were adults, one was a life scout soon to be Eagle Scout. I crossed a fake bridge in the front of the room, cub scout leader on the first side, boy scout representatives on the other side, holding a neckerchief without an owner. I crossed the bridge and they draped it around my collar, and I was in Troop One. This was my third baby step into my faith journey. I was moving on, as one must do in life, to do more exploring, have more experiences, and meet more people. I was continuing deeper into the woods of God's love, who made this opportunity open for me. He told me it was time to move on, and that is exactly what I did.
See the next chapter, Chapter Two, called Boy Scout Adventure.