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  • and one time, at scout camp ...

    Hi @ll,
    so I have found this small digital encampent.
    Let me introduce myself a little:

    I started scouting in the late 80s in the Trans Atlantic Council, right at the end of the cold war.
    The cub scout pack was run by an elite US Army & Air Force unit so lets say scouting was a tad bit different.
    My Den Leader came to the meetings in woodland BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform),
    our day camp was on a military training area and looked like - yup - a military camp.
    The military police K9 dog handlers came by day camp to demonstrate to over 100 cub scouts how
    the dogs could find "stuff" in several suitcases. The next day at day camp they even flew in a Huey helicpoter...
    I was a bit old so I went bobcat-webelos-arrow of light (with 2 compass stars) before I crossed over to one of the 2 troops in town.
    Now these BSA troops had both been around this small town for 40-odd years after WW2, there was a tad bit of rivalry.
    At the "high adventure camp" in summer of 1992 troops from all over the country met, and there was a competition to be
    "Honor Troop". Funny enough, the competition was only between 2 troops from a small town far behind the front lines of the cold war ...
    The other troops didnt stand a chance. Over the entire summer 2 troops took turns taking the award.
    It was a fun time: we worked on merit badges like everybody else, but when we drove to a camp that was 8 or 10 hours drive away,
    they carted us off in army school buses and tossed in a bunch of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).
    Soldiers tend to hate combat rations, and scouts always love them.
    When I handed them out as ASM, my scouts asked if they could have them at every camp ...
    Back in the days most scouts got backpacks, sleeping bags, ponchos etc from their fathers:
    all in G.I. olive drab. Or woodland pattern camouflage.
    Yes we looked like G.I. Joes at times, but I have never again seen such discipline.

    In Central Europe every year in one of 3 varying locations there is Intercamp ...
    Now some of you have been to Jamborees, but let me tell you ...
    2,000+ kids and a couple hundred adults on a field for 3 nights is just ...
    And this is scouts from 20-30 different nations speaking nearly as many languages.
    Very fun. Intersting. Unique experience. And I have been to 3 Intercamps, both as youth and adult.
    So the perception changes from "lets have fun and make friends" to "logistical nightmare and will anyone get lost?" LOL

    Funny thing: I had completed 2nd class just as my scoutmaster was leaving, and he gave me an old style patch before he left.
    But when the new SM came I had to redo 2nd class due to incomplete paperwork and got a new patch. I have both patches to this day.
    Unfortuneatly my troop "folded" when the army left. The other troop became an "embassy only" troop for a while and I quit scouting
    and took up other scout like activities, to return many many years later.

    I had been self employed for a couple of years and wanted to get out of the office.
    At the time I had just found the son from my scoutmaster as well as 2 others from my patrol on social media.
    I googled and found a young troop here in town, only 4-5 years old at the time.
    A new generation of competition between 2 troops in this "little" town?
    I started as an assistant scout master.
    Ohhh I didnt know what I had just rekindled.
    My favourite quote from my SM after 1 year as ASM
    "You did in 1 year what others do in 10".
    And I had: after joining the committee I started venturing thrue every training available:
    IOLS, NDCS (Camp Director, Program Director, Range Director),
    Scoutmaster Merit Badge with council extra miler award.
    I was travelling thousands of miles to a from camps and trainings.
    Organized an embassy visit, a fair visit for a merit badge, 10k hike with camp and
    forest ranger visit for the scout ranger badge ...
    I moved in with my girlfriend and commuted 300 miles to & from troop meetings nearly every week.
    My SM had great ideas and was about to turn me loose on grants when it was decided
    to close this 5 year old troop because of lacking numbers and merge with the other troop.
    My rival from the 90s.
    Having already booked the train tickets and having paid for woodbadge,
    I was told I no longer held a position so ...
    Close but no cigar.

    About 7 months and 8,000 miles later I rejoined scouts:
    new country, new kids, co-ed, but similiar programm.
    I went all out even faster now:
    Cub leader on tuesdays, scout leader on wensdays,
    committe member & fundraising officer and grant administrator
    and liason for the scout group to the local civil defense ...
    Organized a visit from a sports team coach, an embassy employee, scouting for food,
    created & strengthend the bond between scouts and civil defense
    (there was an emergency drill ... while I was out of town).
    Dunno. I went on a couple of camps as well.
    Fed to many girl guide cookies to my scouts
    (its a win-win-win: guides get fundraising, scouts get sweets and I dont eat them ....)
    and I think I have never ever lost weight at a scout camp ... incredible.
    Funny to compare 2 different scout organisations as an adult, but I think I might
    post a future thread on that topic.
    Scouts has given me a lot, and I do my best to give back, best I can.

    One of my most memorable moments:
    I had visited the scout group for 3 months then returned after 5 months overseas and
    a 10 year old girl scout repeated to me what I had tought her half a year earlier:
    What does the cub/scout sign mean when you fold you small finger and put your thumb over it?
    The big one protects the little one.

    Now that I have managed to succesfully put together a couple of events,
    got a couple of kids to earn a bunch of badges etc,
    inspired and pushed other peoples and their projects,
    I catch myself thinking "what else could I do?"
    Woodbadge. Woodbadge trainer. Then what?

    Currently planing on an idea that may or may not work and ...

    No, I dont scout very much ;-)

  • #2
    "Let me introduce myself a little:"
    So what country are you in now?
    "The big one protects the little one."
    Never thought of it like that, I can fit that into advising the other scouts in leadership in my troop.
    I serve kind of like a Troop Guide even though I don't have the title.


    • #3
      I am currently in Berlin, Germany just repacking my stuff: spent the european summer in Geneva and London and about to head back to the southern hemisphere summer (6 months of NZ and OZ).

      Cool explantation of the scout sign aye :-D