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Interesting Series of Letters

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Following are three letters that appeared in the DESERT TRAIL, a community paper in 29 Palms, Ca., home of the largest Marine base we have. The troop is from the town it appears, but they likely have Marine dependents involved; and the town is very supportive of the base mission.


What impressed me most are the responses by the SM and SPL, published publicly. Boy led, adult mentored.



Your view: Scouts' behavior disappoints reader

Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 6:21 PM CDT

Melodie Chambers; Twentynine Palms (Community member)


Dear editor,


I, like many Americans, enjoyed the recent Memorial holiday. Living in a military town, our local Memorial Day celebration at the cemetery is a huge affair.


I live close by and can see the cemetery from my home. On this Monday morning, a day for celebration, I was very upset to look out and see our local Boy Scouts, our future leaders, running through the cemetery throwing things at each other and running across the graves.

As I stood in the window I was more enraged to realize that their leader was standing there and not doing anything about the situation. Parents, and now leaders, set the bar so low that kids have no respect and no idea of what is expected of them!


This was the perfect time to instill in these young men the cost these young men and women have paid for our country; the country that allows them to run in the cemetery and over the tops of these brave soldiers graves.


It amazes me how spoiled the youth of tomorrow are. I understand that we want them to have more than we had as youth but dont forget the most important part, teaching them morals and values.


I feel that our scoutmaster has failed to teach the youth a valuable lesson not only about the sacrifice these men and women have made but on respect of others and themselves.


Your view: What was not seen on Memorial Day

Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010 10:11 AM CDT


B.W. White-Findeisen; Twentynine Palms (Scoutmaster)


Dear editor,


Im thankful for citizens like Melodie Chambers, who feel strongly about properly honoring those who have served their country.


Im the Scoutmaster and the Scouts of Troop 229 are the Boy Scouts she wrote about in the letter that appeared in the paper last week.

What Mrs. Chambers apparently did not witness was my pulling the Senior Patrol Leader, who is 12 years old, aside and asking him to tell the Scouts that their behavior should be more circumspect, befitting the occasion.


She would have seen the change in the Scouts behavior.


Im wondering if Mrs. Chambers witnessed those same Scouts placing flags at veterans grave sites on the Saturday morning preceding those ceremonies?


Many of the Scouts in Troop 229 have parents who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces of our country.


I retired from 20 years of active military service that included service in two military engagements/wars.


The Scouts of Troop 229 know what it means to serve and have themselves done much service in our community, earning official proclamation as the citys own because of their service work in our community.


The goal of scouting is to teach character, fitness and citizenship.


Among the methods of scouting is leadership training and the patrol method.


We expect Scouts to lead Scouts. That is why those Scouts parents and I observed the behavior and, upon seeing that it wasnt being addressed by the Scouts or Scout leaders, addressed the senior Patrol leader.


It might have been a more poignant lesson if Mrs. Chambers would have walked over to the cemetery and addressed her observations to the Scouts or me.


I receive many compliments concerning the Scouts behavior and I relay those compliments to the Scouts.


In like manner, I e-mailed her editorial to all the Scouts of Troop 229.


I also invite Mrs. Chambers to make a presentation on citizenship to the Scouts. We meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday evenings at the community hall of Little Church of the Desert. She can call me to make arrangements for her presentation.



Your view: Scouts did get a bit rambunctious

Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010 10:11 AM CDT

Vincent Thomas; Twentynine Palms (Senior Patrol Leader; only 12 it appears)


Dear editor,


In reply to Melodie Chambers letter last week, as senior patrol leader of Boy Scout Troop 229, Ive spoken to my fellow scouts about the occurrence at the Memorial Day Service.


Yes, we did get a little rambunctious and were throwing juniper berries at each other. We were not, however, running across the graves.

It was our duty at the service to pass out programs to the attendees.


At the time of Mrs. Chambers' observation, it was prior to the actual service and Scouts at the entrance to the cemetery were getting programs to the arrivals.


Those of us posted inside the cemetery found that many had already gotten their programs. Plain and simple, we got bored. Unfortunately our choice of activity was not the best one.


The Scoutmaster wants the troop to be Scout led; he does provide direction to us when we˙re not getting the big picture. Obviously we werent on that Monday morning, so he asked me to speak to my fellow scouts and the rambunctious behavior stopped.


Please dont let this be your total impression of Troop 229. It is our pleasure and duty to participate regularly in community activities as one of the youth organizations here in Twentynine Palms.


Respectfully yours in Scouting.


(This message has been edited by skeptic)

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Outstanding! Maybe the boys were running across the graves. Maybe they were acting as adults would find inappropriate. But unlike 95% of other boys their age, they were there doing a service to their community. My troop did very similar serverce during the tail end of the Vietnam war. And I know I didn't always act the way I now know I should have. But those memories stayed with me and now I have great respect for those who have served. With age and maturity, we can be pretty certain those boys in Scouts will become good citizens. The same can not be said of those boys who on that same Memorial Day, were home in bed.


I'll take my rambunctious gang of free spirited hooligans any day! They will surely be fine men some day.



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People out here in the desert have nothing better to do than complain :)


All that aside, I'm proud of our Sunrise District and how far the boys have come. It's an isolated community with not a lot for the boys to do. Scouting is one of the fun things around, and I applaud the scoutmaster for inviting more community involvement!

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Very, very impressive from the way the SM chose to handle the situation and the way the SPL responded not only directly to the boys but to the entire community in his letter. Stories like this just go to reinforce how vital scouting is to our youth today in shaping them into becoming the leaders of tommorrow.

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Yes, understandable response from a witness and an outstanding response from the SM and SPL.


For me, I'd much rather have 12 year old boys happily playing near by my "final resting place" than weepy, solemn and possibly bored children; but that's just me.

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At one time, the cemeteries were the nicest maintained areas of most communities and were the gathering place for picnics and other family activities. It has only been in recent generations that they have become a place of stoic morbidity.


I had a boy do an eagle project on the military graves of a number of cemeteries in the area. He had to find the grave and see if there was a marker on it either family or military and whether it was in decent condition and/or needed cleaning, replacement, etc. The rest of the troop help on this project and basically it became a treasure hunt looking for these graves. The boys ran all over the place, screamed and yelled and had a great time finding these graves. They became engrossed with the project and got off task whenever they found a grave of particular interest, noting infant graves, really old graves, graves of veterans from the War of 1812 (No revolutionary vets) and/or elaborate family stones giving the history of certain individuals. More than one boy commented how neat and interesting it was to go to a cemetery, he had never had a chance to do it before.


Because our town does not have a cemetery directly in town, the Memorial Day program is done at the local school ball field where crosses are put up and wreaths placed after the parade. So for sure, this may in fact have been the first time some had ever been to a cemetery. They were excited, fascinated, and impressed with their "first visit". What better tribute to those in the cemetery than to have people come and visit and be excited, fascinated and impressed with their visit. I hope that when the scouts come and visit me they laugh and joke about this old guy having spent most of his life being a Boy Scout maybe he didn't ever grow up. What better dash can one have?


Come visit, walk on my grave, play and horse around, laugh and sit on the stone, lie in the grass, pick the flowers, and rest a while. It's okay, because you took the time to come and visit.



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On my grave Scouts can dance, sing, build a campfire, play game, what ever they want. And I will just look down at them and smile knowing that they are and what they will become from the scouting program.(This message has been edited by Gary_Miller)

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