Re: The Dreaded Phone Call...
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Thu, 4 Sep 1997 20:35:22 -0500
On Thu, 4 Sep 1997 PANNELLJ@delphi.com wrote:
> >Go for it. It's only an hour a week.
> Cliff --
> Good to see you still have a sense of humor after being SM for all those
> years. <g>
Seriously though John,
When I was 19, Harold "Irish" Snow, my Scoutmaster, died while on a
campout. We went through 2 Scoutmasters in the next 3 1/2 years. Our
membership dropped from 70 boys to 10 boys. I continued serving as an
ASM through that period.
With the latest Scoutmaster moving out of town, they had pretty well
decided to fold the troop if they couldn't find a replacement.
In November 1976, Lou Bergren, our troop committee chairman, asked me to
be scoutmaster of Troop 33. I answered "No way!" I didn't want to do it.
I was working 30 hours/week while a full time college student.
At age 22, I had a different set of priorities.
I did agree to keep things going until they could find a scoutmaster.
For the sake of the boys I ran the troop as a temporary scoutmaster.
I always worked late at the NIU Art Building and the janitors all knew
me well. Two of them stopped by to visit with me one night. I had some
Troop 33 stuff set aside I had been working on.
First, Gus stopped by and spotted the troop stuff. Both his sons had been
in Scouting with me. He started talking about the good old days and all the
crazy things he remembered about us. He talked about Harold "Irish" Snow.
("Irish" had been like a second father to me) It was a humerous and somewhat
Later Smitty stopped by. Smitty had just returned from Hawaii where
he had visited his grandchildren. He spotted the Scouting stuff and asked me
which troop I was involved in. I told him Troop 33, and his jaw dropped.
"Are they still going?" he asked.
I said, "So far". I thought I would beat him to the punch and said,
"Don't tell me, your son was in Troop 33, right?"
Smitty slowly shook his head, "No, not my son, but I was in Troop 33
back in the 1930's". Another discussion about the good old days and
Scouting ensued. Smitty still remembered specific campouts he'd been on
over 45 years earlier. He had many great memories from his glory days as
a Scout. I had never known he was involved in Scouting at all before
I felt a little like Scrooge must have felt after being visited by the
Spirits of Christmas. Gus and Smitty couldn't have planned it better if
they'd tried. (At least I don't think they planned it)
I had trouble working on anything that night. Our troop charter was
ending later that month, and without a scoutmaster, they would be dropping
the troop. I think at that point, everyone had written Troop 33 off as a
I thought of all the leaders that had invested time in me, I thought of
"Irish", all I had received through Scouting, and all the boys I had known
through the program.
The next day I called Lou and said "Yes, sign me up as Scousmaster for the
new charter year, but don't stop looking for a permanent scoutmaster.
Over 20 years and hundreds of boys later, I don't regret making that
decision. It has cost me money and opportunity. There's no doubt to that
fact, but that's been my decision.
If life is about money and possessions, then I've lived the life of a
fool. If life is about touching the lives of others, then I've been
blessed with great wealth.
I've done several other jobs in Scouting, but scoutmaster has been my
most important task, and my most rewarding opportunity.
Whatever you decide, good luck to you. I think you've received some great
advice both pro and con from members of Scouts-L. There is no right or
wrong answer that we can give you. All we can do is point out different
things for you to consider.
The only true answer lies in your own heart.
Good luck on your decision.
YIS, Cliff Golden
Scoutmaster Troop 33; DeKalb, Illinois
Three Fires Council BSA
BTW, Lou Bergren is now in his seventies. (He's the one I said "yes" to
20 years ago) His 5 Eagle Scout sons range in age from 47 to 38. Lou
is still active in Scouting and serves as Troop 33's Treasurer and
Chartered Partner Representative.
Five other adults have been with me the entire 20 years. I have about 28
adults on the committee. They are a super group of Scouters.
Dedicated people standing by you is a crucial factor.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City