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Oldscout448

What's your best Scouting memory?

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We are on a patrol hike on a campout.  My 13 year old son and his buddy are leading and we just trekked up to a scenic overlook and looped around to a second overlook.  My son tells the group that we have to double back to get back.  A parent disagrees and points to a trail saying, "its right there."  Son take out compass and has buddy go 100 feet down the trail to see if it turns to go in the right direction.  It doesn't.  My son repeats, "we have to double back."  The adult repeats, "it's this one right here."  My son looks at me and asks, "what should I do?"  I responded, "lead."  He said, "OK, lets go this way" and led us in the opposite direction of where the parent was insisting.  In three minutes we were back on the trail headed in the right direction.  The parent didn't say anything the rest of the hike.

At the West Point Camporee, our five foot tall Venture Crew president heard an Adult Leader insult his Scouts by calling them "a bunch of girls."  One of our Crew members got a picture of her correcting him.  I'm guessing he never did that again.

My most favorite memory is when my son was SPL for summer camp two years ago.  A new Scout didn't have anyone to tent with.  The parents came to me, insisting that I fix it.  I told them that their son should talk to his SPL.  They were obviously annoyed, but told their son to talk to the SPL.  I saw the conversation happen and then my son called to his buddy who was tenting with him and said, "George, can you tent by yourself, I'm tenting with Bobby."  In a moment, the kid who felt like he was the last one picked for a team, was sharing his tent with the SPL.  My son woke up a half hour before everyone else that week and we talked about the plan for the day.  He put his heart into leading the Troop and by Friday he was exhausted.  At the closing campfire, one of the adults talked about their first experience at camp and told the story of how he didn't have someone to tent with and how one of the older scouts in the Troop kicked his buddy out to tent with him.  I could see how the story impacted my son.  As we left the campfire, we (as SM and SPL) had to check in with some of the MBCs to make sure they got the prerequisites our Scouts finished up the night before.  On the way there, my son broke down crying -- exhausted from the week and emotional from the campfire.  At that moment, I stopped being his Scoutmaster, gave him a big hug and turned into the dad of a very amazing 13 year old.

I've got tons of other stories about the guys and gals in the Troop and Crew demonstrating what Scouting is about,  My best memories aren't about me, the are about them.

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Hundreds of memories, but the one that stands out is the 1997 Jamboree closing ceremony after the unbelievable fireworks display, with 40,000 people holding lighted candles, repeating the scout oath while a recording of Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA was playing.  I was crying like a baby!

 

Dale

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I've posted a few memories in other topics, but a relatively recent one makes me laugh a lot. 

We had a bad situation where the SPL had to resign for medical reasons and the ASPL had stopped coming. So an Eagle scout was tapped to help out in the interim until the elections could be held. The Eagle scout really didn't want the job, but he did it because there was a need. 

A scout put his name in for SPL and won the election. He was happy. We all felt like it would be a great thing for the scout. Then the SM said, "Why don't you go ahead and assume the role and close out the meeting."  

The new SPL went bug-eyed. It hit him that he really was in charge. 

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It's hard to pick just one, but here are a few that stand out.

My boy scout troop was camping at the Pinnacles and visited the Bear Gulch Cave. This cave is a large talus cave (made by large boulders) that climbs up following a water course. The cave was partly flooded in that it had water running in it, and the only way through was to go wading (in about thigh high water at it's deepest). But it was a hot day (the Pinnacles can get really hot), so we didn't care that we were getting wet. The upper two thirds of the cave is completely dark (I mean pitch black, no light at all), so we were all carrying flashlights. We had a couple of hours to explore the cave, and we quickly split up into groups (patrols mostly if I remember correctly). We climbed through the cave up the top, stopping along the way to stick our head into every crevice we could find. And then went back down to the bottom. I then had the idea to do it without flashlights. It was a whole other experience in the pitch black. The sound and feel of the rushing water, the texture of the rocks, our voices and the dark. We relied on our memories of the path and the water current as a guide. It was a great feeling of accomplishment when we got to the top and sunlight again. We had done the whole thing without turning on the flashlights once! There were other groups from our troop already at the top. We told them what we had done, and turned around to go down in the dark again. This time leading two other patrols. We did a total of five passes through the cave without lights before it was time to move on.

In 1976, I was a webelos. My local council was holding a special week-long event in celebration of the Bicentennial called something like the Bicenteree. It was in a dry valley somewhere in the Diablo Range. The valley wasn't a normal campground as it had no facilities and just a dirt road running into it. The National Guard trucked in all the water and there were big banks of porta-potties. My older brother, along with my Dad (he was an ASM) stayed there all week with the troop. Us webelos were only going to be there the final weekend (we were hosted by the troop). It was to be my first time camping with real boy scouts, so I was excited. The den leader drove all of us in his huge station wagon (remember those?) and parked the car in a huge field of vehicles, grabbed our gear and hiked in (it wasn't far as the "parking lot" was next to the camping area). We could see on the hill above the camp a large black and pink scar on the hillside. It turned out that the day before, there had been a grass fire. The whole camp was mustered to be ready to fight the fire. All the scouts were ordered too return too their troop area and prepare to do fire duty. The fire was actually put out by a plane dropping fire retardant on the fire (hence the pink) with some actual firemen and national guardsmen. The scouts just stood and watched. My Dad managed to get a great photograph of the plane doing the drop. It was my first scouting camp out (though we had done family camping many times before), and it made a big impression on me. It was a big event, with well over a hundred boy scout troops attending. I remember wandering around and seeing giant pioneering projects (signal towers, bridges, fences), a few foreign troops, a troop playing bag pipes, buglers, games, competitions, archery, activity everywhere. To a webelos, it was an amazing introduction to the world of boy scouts! I couldn't wait!

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