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gwd-scouter

Been away for a while - health issues

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Hello Scouter Folks. I've been away for quite some time dealing with my health issues. Some of you may remember that I was diagnosed with lupus about two years ago and it has affected so much of what I do. Most notably, I became unable to attend campouts with the Troop as I would like - can't sleep overnight on the ground anymore. I do visit if the Troop is camping somewhere in reasonable distance, but it is just not the same - at least not for me.

 

Our Troop has been fortunate to get a wonderful new group of ASMs last year and a few more just last month along with five new Scouts. Our numbers are still around 24 which is such a great improvement over just a couple of years ago when we had only myself, my husband, and one other ASM, and only nine boys.

 

The older boys that I trained in the new ways of the Troop are on their way out and their successors have learned well from them. I see these new leaders already showing the way to their younger charges. What a fantastic Troop!

 

I announced to the Committee a few months ago my plans to step down as SM. I feel that the SM should be reasonably able to attend as many campouts as possible (if not all), and I just don't see any future possibility of my health improving enough to do that.

 

Funny thing is they don't want me to go. Neither do the boys. "Mrs. B., you have to be here when I get to Eagle." Frankly, I will miss the boys - they are MY boys. But, the time will come. The troop is in very good hands. Our ASMs are trained and totally behind the boy-led, patrol method, our Committee is now fully "stocked" and trained.

 

I have done what I set out to do six years ago. Yes, it may be a bit of self-congratulation, but my goal was to create a troop that had an awesome program, boys learning to lead each other, adults mentoring but not interfering, and a Troop that others wanted to join. We're there.

 

I just wanted to post to let those of you that have followed my saga over the years how much I appreciate your encouragement, advice, and friendship.

 

Yours in Scouting,

Karen

 

 

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Karen,

 

Thanks for the update. Nothing wrong with acknowledging your own hard work. I've been there, and it's hard work to convince the adults and boys that this is the right way to do it, and it doesn't happen overnight. It can take quite a while to get a Troop on the right track; in boy led patrols. It can take even longer to convince adults to be "hands off".

 

I understand your stepping down from the SM position, but do you have to totally leave the Troop? If your health concerns prohibit much activity, you could be a Committee Member at-large with no specific function other than giving your experienced input into the committee. If you're able, you could be on the Committee with a job, perhaps Advancement Chair. This would allow you to keep up with the boys advancements and let you be there when they "get to Eagle".

 

Thanks for your service to the boys!

 

ASM59

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Karen,

 

I definitely understand where you're coming from. I've had two brain surgeries, four hospitalizations and another surgery where I almost lost my kidney in the past two years. It was a hard pill to swallow, having to step down from everything I did with the boys.

 

But they did help me learn something. While I'll never get back to the old me, there's a "new me" on the horizon. I may not be able to do everything my heart wants to, but I'll get to a new normal and be able to reach out to do what I can do. The capacity of what I do has changed, but definitely not the spirit!

 

I've explained to those around me and in my units that I subscribe to the "Spoon Theory." http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/personal-essays/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/

 

So they understand when there's something I'd like to do, but have to back out or just don't have the means to accomplish what my heart wants to.

 

So while this chapter of your life may be at a successful close and you've accomplished much for the boys, I'm sure there's so much more you can do and still be around for. I met a woman who used to be an ASM for her son's troop but like me, ended up with some horrible surgeries and pain issues. Even from her wheelchair now, she's a merit badge counselor for disabilities awareness and loves to take boys to local zoos and share her knowledge of plants and animals when she has the "spoons."

 

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You're a testament to courage and strength, and I for one think you're not done yet, just shifting jobs :)

 

--J

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There is a difference between being vain and just being proud of a job well done.

 

It sounds like a job well done if you ask me...Nothing close to being vain at all.

 

 

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gwd-scouter,

You were missed and I'm glad to see that you are back.

As you know I'm not as young as I once was!!

While I'm not in bad shape. Life has thrown me a few curve balls over the years, mainly in the shape of a messed up back. I'm not going to bore everyone with the details.

 

It took me a long time to really understand that before I can take care of anyone else, I had to take care of myself.

I know to some this sounds kinda selfish. But it really worked for me.

When I was feeling up to par, I was a much better leader and able to deal with things a lot better.

When I wasn't. I was a miserable old goat!

You have to do what is the best for you.

Scouting offers a lot of opportunities for everyone to find something that is a good fit for them. Troop/Pack and Crews all need people who are willing to serve on committees.

Districts have lots of opportunities to serve.

You do need to practice learning to say the word "No".

There are people out there like me! Who at times will take a willing volunteer and then keep loading more and more on.

Having served as a leader you still have rewards to come.

I still enjoy and love the feeling of meeting an adult who was one of "My Scouts". While very few ever say thank you, I can tell from th way they act that they are proud of what they have done and where they are at. I'm big headed enough to think that maybe I played a small part in helping them get there.

I have Scouts who were "My Scouts" who are now serving as leaders in many parts of the world. Some keep in contact via e-mail on a fairly regular basis, others just exchange Christmas cards.

I enjoy hearing from the adults who attended WB and are still active in Troops and in Districts.

None of us ever know how many lives we touch while serving as a leader.

The ASM in the Troop OJ was in who lit the spark that got him interested in First Aid had at the time no idea that OJ would go on to work as an EMT and is now working at becoming RN/Para-medic. Making a difference in a lot of peoples lives.

I never would have guessed that the little Lad who was interested in doing the Plane Spotters Badge would go on to work in air traffic control and then become the guy in charge of training Air Traffic Controllers in the UK.

The truth is that we just don't know.

I have to laugh every-time I use fresh garlic. It reminds me of when I was a Scout adding garlic to dish I was cooking at camp. I was to add 3 cloves. Only I didn't know what a clove was, so I added 3 bulbs!!

Later this year I hope to take the test to become a Master Chef.

All because someone was willing to volunteer their time and take an interest in me.

No matter what you decide to do.

Thank You.

Thank you for taking the time.

Who knows maybe one day when I'm safely tucked away in a nursing home one of you boys will be the one looking after me and it will all be thanks to you.

Ea.

 

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I'll echo Eamonn's message and welcome you back as well. If you're up to it, I might call and try to re-schedule a BBQ lunch....still looking for escargot.

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Thank you friends.

 

I've been at the Mayo Clinic this past week for my second visit. Got my answers and now will just have to accept that while my health issues are not life-threatening they are certainly life-altering. I suppose acceptance is just one step in the process.

 

The way I am looking toward the future is that the door to my Scoutmastership may be closing, but other opportunities will become available to use the knowledge and experience I've gained over the years. As I'm sure is true everywhere else, our District is always begging for Unit Commissioners and for people to fill other spots on the District Committee. I will also likely continue to be involved with our Troop in some way. I always tell others that working with the boys in the Troop is my form of therapy. Whenever I'm feeling down about my situation, spending time with the guys and the adults just makes me feel better. I may have two sons, but I have dozens of boys and have served hundreds over the past 16 years. How can I give that up?

 

Thank you for the warm welcome back. I am looking forward to participating again in the forum and hope that sharing my experiences will help others, just as so many of you have helped me.

 

 

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I look at my work in Scouting as a kind of therapy as well. When I was at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, laying over a bed with needles in my back, the doctor asked, "So do you have kids?" to which I replied, "Yep, 3,000 boys!"

 

It sure was a great conversation starter to talk about scouting that way!

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I look at my work in Scouting as a kind of therapy as well. When I was at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, laying over a bed with needles in my back, the doctor asked, "So do you have kids?" to which I replied, "Yep, 3,000 boys!"

 

It sure was a great conversation starter to talk about scouting that way!

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