The meeting also afforded me the chance to remember the good times I had while being a part of scouting in the '50's and how important their programs are to the molding and maturing of young men.
There were many, many memorable times during my years of scouting but a couple that really stick out in my mind.
One of the incidents involved myself and three of my buddies that were in the same scout troop. We had decided that we would have a weekend camp out in the woods and along the way we may be able to qualify for a merit badge or two. It happened to be in the dead of winter, which really wasn't very smart on our part, but we were determined that the weather would not stop our desire to enjoy a camp out. With tent, provisions, sleeping bags and lots of warm clothes we headed to the country. We knew we could walk along the country road until we got to the field we would need to cross to get to the woods. But that would take too long so we decided to head "cross country."
The idea was a good one until we arrived at the creek that ran through the field we were crossing. Although it was winter and the creek had a layer of ice on it, we knew it was not strong enough to hold our weight. Being boy scouts and knowing we needed to be creative we walked along the side of the creek until we found a tree that had fallen across the stream. "Bingo," we now had a bridge. Now that we had a safe way to cross the creek, we were in business. A couple of my buddies had crossed ahead of me and said, "Be careful, the tree is a little slick." I appreciated the warning, but apparently didn't listen very well. About half way across, my foot slipped and into the creek I went, backpack, sleeping bag, provisions and all. Thank goodness the creek wasn't deep and I only sunk in up to my waist. But boy was the water cold!
Naturally all of my buddies were nearly doubled over from laughing at my dilemma.
After pulling me out and trying to wrap me up in some blankets to keep me warm, we decided that the weekend camp out was going to have to wait until another day. Although it took us about an hour to walk back to town, I don't think I even got the sniffles from being soaked to the gills in the dead of winter.
The other incident was during a camporee at Crowder State Park in Northwest Missouri. Our troop had been assigned an area at the base of a fairly steep hill in the park to set up our camp. After getting tents pitched, attending several merit badge sessions and cooking our supper, we decided to turn in for the night since the next day was supposed to be extra busy with activities.
What we didn't anticipate was a thunder storm during the night and water running off the side of the hill and right into the middle of our camp site. About the time the flood started coming into our tents we realized that we needed to head for higher ground. As I remember, we were able to get relocated but not before we not drenched while trying to set up our camp on higher ground. It seems like, in at least my case, that water and scouting were never very compatible.
If you have never been involved in the scouting programs you have missed out on a special part of life for a young man. There are many, many national, state and local leaders that have been part of scouting and I'm sure all of them will tell you that one of the wisest decisions they ever made in their life was when they joined scouts.
I encourage those who do not know about scouting to investigate, join and participate. It is without a doubt one of the finest organizations in the world for the leaders of tomorrow.
Jerome Wassmann is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle.