"Be Prepared", by "Rice E. Cochran"
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Mon, 11 Nov 1996 15:58:18 -0800
At 12:41 PM 11/11/96 -0600, Mark Arend wrote:
>Since there seems to be some interest in the 1935 Jamboree being canceled I
>looked up this first-hand account:
> "I still remembered the National Jamboree of 1935. I hadnot been
>part of our local contingent for that trip, but a few of my Scouts had, and
>I went to the station to see them off. The whole contingent was lined up
>beside our special train, awaiting the signal to board it, when Skipper
>Gunnison, who was our Scout executive at that time, came rushing up to them.
> "'The Jamboree is off, fellows!' he cried, 'You can't go!'
> ...[the author attended the 1949 Jamboree]..."There was no such bad
>luck this year. ... Actually, although we were ignorant of it at the time,
>we did come rather close to a repetition of the 1935 fiasco. A Scout died
>suddenly of polio en route to Valley Forge. If he had been in camp when
>stricken, perhaps the Jamboree might have been stopped, even with Troops
> --from Be Prepared
> by Rice E. Cochran
Rice E. Cochran is a nom de plum for Keith Monroe. Keith was the Scoutmaster
of Troop 2 of Santa Monica for roughly 46 years. No, that's _not_ a typographic
error. Keith was also the offical historian of the BSA for many years. He
founded the "The Way It Was" column in "Scouting" magazine. Many Scouters on
this list who were Scouts in the 1960s will remember him best as the author
of "The Time Machine" stories in Boys' Life magazine. Keith told me when I met
him in 1974 at Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island:
"The Chief Scout Executive (CSE) was really angry when 'Be Prepared' came
out. (Rodger's note: in the 1950s) He directed his staff to 'find that SOB
and RED FLAG him'".
"Red flagging" was usually reserved for pedophiles, so it is obvious that
the CSE was _really_ provoked by the sometimes irreverent tone in "Be
Prepared". As for me and, I suspect, thousands of other Scouters, I laughed
all the way through reading it and went back to re-read it many times. It's
a great pity this book is out of print, as it is both one of the most
funny and inspirational books about Scouting I have ever read.
"Be Prepared" was based largely upon Keith's experiences and those of his
father who was Scoutmaster of Troop 2 before him. It was a major factor in
keeping me from leaving Scouting as a volunteer leader in my early years as
I'd be getting really depressed and thinking, "What am I doing here? The
boys don't seem to appreciate what I'm trying to do for them, most of the
parents only seem to care when something goes wrong. Things aren't going
smoothly, and they don't seem to be getting any better. I've got alot of
other worthwhile things I could be doing. What am I doing here?"
Then I'd go back and re-read in "Be Prepared" anecdotes like the time Keith
inadvertantly left a Scout in the mountains with a blizzard coming down and
couldn't get back up there for three days. The boy had slipped out of the
car in the minute between roll call in the cars and the time his troop left
camp for home. Keith told it in such a funny way that I'd burst out laughing
and figure that if he could survive something as bad as that in Troop 2 of
Santa Monica that I could keep doing my best for awhile longer in Troop 225
of Camarillo, fifty miles up the road from Santa Monica.
It kinda put the time one of my patrols forgot half their food on a weekend
campout in perspective.
And you know, things _did_ get better. Thanks, Keith. Without you, I would
most likely have missed some tremendous experiences.
Keith passed on the following advice to Scouters in "Be Prepared" that was
given to him in the first years that he was a Scouter:
"Wait for the rewards."
After 25 years as a Scouter (last month was my anniversary month), I heartily
concur with Keith. I still get a bit depressed about twice a year and wish that
things were going better, but I know now that it's a normal and transitory
thing (for me, at least). Something always comes up to make me glad that I
have stayed the course and continued to do my best.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <email@example.com>
Scoutmaster, Troop 852 Wood Badge 416-18
Ventura County Council at Philmont, 1973
Camarillo, California, USA "I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City