Childhood is the most memorable part of life. As adults, we are continually referring back to the lessons that we learned in the simpler times we spent in youth.
Easily half of the stories that my husband tells have to do with his time in the scouting program. One of our kids’ favorite stories is of the time that their dad insisted on packing his own bag for a weeklong backpacking trip.
As a strong 14-year-old boy it sounded like a good idea to bring several cans of food and an extra 5-pound bag of licorice to share with his troop. A couple of miles into the 50-mile hike he was struggling to even move forward another inch and wanted to quit. When he could go no farther, his leaders wondered if adjusting his straps would help, but instead they discovered his unbearable load. They paused the hike and kindly led a discussion with the group. It was decided to distribute the weight evenly among all the boys and leaders.
This small act of service made it possible for him to continue on and successfully complete the memorable journey.
Service was a big part of my husband’s scouting journey and as an adult, he often refers back to this when times get tough. We want our kids to build a strong foundation through service, leadership and strong core values. All of these things are taught in our home and we like to affiliate with programs that support our family goals.
Based on my husband’s experiences, we knew that we could find most of these in the scouting program. When the Boy Scouts decided to allow girls in and rebrand to “Scouts BSA” we were thrilled, because now our sons and daughters could both learn together from the same parent organization.
The scout law states, “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
Six months ago, we moved from Texas to Utah, and we stumbled upon a brand-new girl’s troop that was forming the very day that we pulled into town. Our daughter was so excited that she requested to go straight there. We were met with four other very motivated girls and a scout master who is dedicated to helping them successfully run a truly youth led program.
Within six weeks of forming, the troop earned enough money through fundraising to attend and completely pay for scout camp for all the girls and leaders. They had their first court of honor in September and our 12-year-old daughter had the chance to present awards to her fellow scouts and she personally earned 19 merit badges herself!
In this program, the girls set the pace. They are all brand new to scouting, and even with that, they are all on a path to be second class by the end of the year (some first class). Several of the girls are on track to receive their Eagle Scout award by the time they are 13 and 14 years old.
I have been impressed at the selflessness that these girls display. Even in the fun activities that they plan, many of them involve service. They meet weekly and hold monthly campouts, weather permitting, and in September they planned a campout in Bear Lake so they could volunteer to help with the “Bike the Bear” event. Everyone came home with a new t-shirt and a beaming smile on their face.
Now they want to train to ride bikes in the event next year.
Childhood is the most memorable part of life. We are so grateful that the scouting program is still going strong in our community and that our sons and daughters will all have the opportunity to make positive memories to properly fill their proverbial bag of life.
For more information visit beascout.org.
Submitted by Jeanne Baker Davis