This past weekend, I attended my ordeal for membership into the Order of the Arrow (more to come on that later). Once the silence portion was completed, all of the new Ordeal members started yakking it up and chatting with anyone, as if they had just come out of a coma.
A couple of scouts that were Cubs when I was Cubmaster were going through their ordeal that weekend. They had crossed over to the other troop in the area (our troop hadn’t been started yet). I congratulated them on their accomplishment and told them that although they were in a different troop, that they were still my boys and that I was proud of them.
A couple of them came over after the meal and I started to ask them “whatever happened to soinso?” We got to talking about the program and then one of them, Aaron, asked me about some of the new Webelos that they recently got. I filled him in on some of those boy’s idiosyncrasies, and how I dealt with them when they were in the pack, and some things that worked for me when they were Cubs. Aaron proceeded to tell me about the behaviors of one of the boys, and I said “yup, that’s soinso….you just have to deal with it.” Their Scoutmaster came over, and I explained a couple more things about their new recruits and how to handle them and their parents and made the comment that “I gave you the pack’s problem children, while I took the quality scouts”
*DISCLAIMER: It was a joke, folks…all scouts are good kids in their own way*
Their Scoutmaster walked away after a “thanks a lot” comment and a chuckle. I stayed there, talking to Aaron and Joe. We talked about when they were Cubs and how the pack has morphed since they started in Cubs. We talked about prepping the Webelos so they are better prepared. I said that comes from trained leaders, good program and getting outside. They agreed and said that they didn’t remember a lot of that when they were Cubs. Aaron said that all he really remembered was playing “Tag” at all the pack meetings. I asked him if he remembered when we were meeting at the Church, and he said “yea…that was when the meetings were cool! We didn’t play tag, we played those carnival-type games and got tiny prizes. We did some cool stuff….wait, that’s when you were the Cubmaster, right?”
“Yup” I said with a smirk. “Do you remember going camping for the first time at Camp Rokilio?”
“Aw, man, do I ever! That was fun…but we didn’t go until I was in like the 3rd grade. Wish we would have went sooner…”
“Well, outing is 2/3rds of Scouting…that’s what I knew the pack needed, so I put that plan together to get the scouts to camp. And it was funded with Cub Bucks. I spent the whole summer of my first year putting together a plan to not only get there, but on how to fund it. I came back the next fall, put it on the table, and nobody could say no. I also implemented Pack Training and uniforms for all leaders. We needed to set the example for the Scouts.”
“Wow, Mr. Cleary…I had no idea that you did all of that…you kind of cared about us, didn’t you?”
“Um, yea…that’s why I told you what I told you earlier…you were and still are my boys…ain’t nothing that I wouldn’t do to make sure you get the most out of scouting”
We talked a bit more about some other scouting stuff, and then Aaron just blurted out…
“I think our troop is dying! We don’t do anything outside, our meetings suck and I got scolded from the PL for not coming to a meeting with 2 ideas for things to do during the troop meeting. It really sucks and I don’t really want to come to meetings anymore.”
Then the SPL chimes in and says that he doesn’t like the format of the meetings, that he’s not happy with his ASPL and that they work on Merit Badges in troop meetings. He doesn’t know where to turn…
To be continued…