One of the great pleasures about running this website is the terrific people I come in contact with. Some of them have shared experiences with me; others are people with whom my only shared experience is the Scouting experience. I got together with Rich and several others because we all went to the same summer camp together or at about the same time. I had planned to go to the Jamboree this summer (the 100th anniversary of Scouting in the US) but schedules changed and I could not make it. Rich was kind enough to get patches for me. I had gone to the 50th Jamboree and a patch from the 100th was pretty important to me. Thanks again, Rich.
I asked him to tell me about his Scouting experience. He said it was unremarkable, but his words had a truth and perspective that I could not have expressed better. His experiences and feelings very closely mirror mine and Iím sure those of many other Scouts of our era. Below is the letter he wrote to me.
ďI joined the Boy Scouts (had been a cubbie) in 1960, the 50th anniversary year and decided to retire on the 100th anniversary year.
Making it to 50 years as been a challenge. Itís not the BSA I knew or signed up for. Not saying itís better or worse itís just different and the differences are a bit dismaying to me.
Used to be, for example, that advancement and Eagle was about the trail and the journey - not the destination. Kids, or rather, parents entering now days have the expectation that ďmy kid is here to get his eagle.Ē
Another notch on the childhood resume.
Iíve gone to the last 4 Jambos with the Physical Arrangement Group as a plumber. Not what I do for a living but thatís what I enjoyed about it. After the 2nd time or so, I didnít get around very much to the program areas Ė unless they had a water leak or broken toilet (ha-hah).
I did have one experience at the last Jamboree that was unlike any other Iíve had in Scouting. It was very emotional for me. I drove one of the plumbers who is part Native American to the OA Pow-Wow on Sunday night. He had his garb and was going to dance with the other attendees. The first thing they did was have the dancers who were veterans hold the flag ceremony and then they danced in the ring. Next they invited all of the veterans in the audience into the ring to dance. I kind of thought it would be silly but, what the heck, I went into the ring to ďDance with the Veterans.Ē I have never felt so honored in my entire life as when I got to dance with the Veterans. I could not hold back my tears.
Anyway, that was my Jambo. Iím passing the torch to some other guys who want to be plumbers at the new Jambo site in West Virginia.Ē
It is men like Rich who have been the backbone of Scouting and have made it the tremendous organization it is today. He served his country. He served in Scouts. I salute you, my friend, and count myself honored to be in your company.