There is not a Scoutmaster that I know that has not said those words in conversation. We all know of a boy that really does need Scouting. We have them in our Troops, we know them in the neighborhood, we see them in our kids Schools.
Right before summer camp I was informed that we were loosing a Scout from our troop. Now I won’t go into detail about this boy, but lets just say….”He needs Scouting”.
He is not a bad kid, is not in any trouble, is real smart, and a wonderful kid to be around. Liked by everyone in the Troop and super enthusiastic. But he needs Scouting.
Through a series of hard knocks this boy was born into a family that while may have had the very best of intentions, just can not seem to make it. I am not judging here.. heck I know that we are all a tragedy away from a life we do not choose, be that as it may.. This boy was born into a real rough life. His mom is doing the best she can, but circumstances just seem to snowball and well you all know how that goes.
This boy was part of a mentoring program and his mentor brought him to Scouting. A long time Scout dad and Scouter, the mentor thought as most of us do.. this kid could use the structure, the adult male role models, the opportunities and the experiences. And for about two years this kid embodied the Scouting promise. He poured himself into camp outs and embraced summer camp like it was his last week on earth.
This kid really needs Scouting. Once he was home and away from the troop all he had was the hard knock life that awaits him every morning when he wakes up in a small apartment with his brothers and sisters. He has taken it upon himself to be the male figure of the house and does what he can to help.. but 11 year olds are not and should not be the “Man of the House”. Scouting taught him life long skills like cooking and cleaning. Shopping on a budget and first aid. Things that he will be able to use forever. He learned to swim, he learned to shoot, he learned to tie knots, he learned responsibility, he learned to be a part of a team.
This kid really needs Scouting and it saddens me deeply that we lost this one.
It has given me a deeper appreciation for what I do as a Scoutmaster. It has opened my eyes to the importance of what we do as Scout leaders. I think that too many times we take our roles as Scout leaders for granted. I know I won’t.. not any more.
We have an award in our troop for the Scout at the end of Summer that best embodied the spirit of Summer Camp. That one Scout that opened his mind, heart, and spirit to fully experience Camp. On our last night in camp, the Assistant Scoutmasters and I sat in front of my tent, we talked about this years recipient and concluded that there were a couple Scouts that were deserving, and then our measuring stick presented itself. This Scout we lost. He was our first recipient and the reason we came up with the award. We came up with one super deserving young man and he will be presented the award at our Court of Honor this Sunday. The other thing we concluded was that from this day forth the award will be presented in the name of the Scout that really needs Scouting. From now on it will be the Walker Award. the recipient of the award is presented with a Scouting Memorabilia Box (pictured). Because Scouting is about the memories.. not the Merit badges.
I wish he did not have to go, and someday, I hope he comes back. But his memory will live forever in our Troop as a great kid that loved Scouts!
And as a leader, that is what it is all about.
Have a Great Scouting Day!