Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Tue, 18 Nov 1997 00:07:54 -0800
1) 16 year old Life Scout - He and his family moved to a different community
4 years ago. He dug his heels in and got supremely stubborn until his parents
promised they would drive him to our troop meetings so he wouldn't have to
change troops. This involves about 20 miles driving each way. His parents and
I thought this would be a passing phase, and that he would most likely join
a troop local to his new community after he settled in and made some friends.
Wrong guess. He is now driving himself to our troop meetings and is down to
a few merit badges and a project for Eagle Scout. His parents have told me
that I am one of the reasons reasons he is still in Scouting and one of the
reasons he drives into Camarillo from the Simi Valley every week. Often, he
only stays for about 30 minutes, then drives back home. He is in honors
courses and the drum line at his high school, and his coursework load is
heavy. He is always willing to work with younger Scouts whilst he is at
I think of Brian sometimes when I am discouraged and I think I am not making
a positive difference.
2) 11 year old Scout - He joined from Webelos in March of this year and
went inactive less than 90 days later. He dislikes camping. To our surprise,
he became active again last Wednesday. At one point during the meeting, I
had a few minutes to talk with Brandon and welcome him back.
He eyed my square knots and the following exchange took place, as nearly as
I can remember it:
Brandon: "How many years have you been a leader?"
Rodger: "Twenty-six. Plus, I was a Cub Scout for 2 years and a Boy Scout
for 3 years, so I have a total of 31 years in Scouting."
Brandon: "Wow!! You look a _lot_ older than that!"
Rodger: (Leaning on an imaginary cane, grinning, and imitating an old
geezer with a cracked voice) "I feel _VERRRY_ old, sonny!!"
Brandon: (Bursts into laughter)
I am 46 years old.
Hopefully we can deliver the Promise to Brandon, despite his current
distaste for camping. I'll see if we can find something he can excel at
and then use his successes as an opening wedge to broaden his interests.
3) 29 year old U.S. Army Captain on active duty - An Eagle Scout from the
1980s. He stays touch, and usually comes to visit me whenever he is in town.
This returns the courtesy, as I used to look up my old troop whenever I was
in town on annual leave during my 8 years as a Navy enlisted man and Naval
Flight Officer and take some of the Scouts up flying at the local airport.
Brian Nomi has a special place in my heart because of his kindness to a
4) 41 year old technical writer for Unisys - A Life Scout from the 1970s.
He dropped out of Scouting after his teenage years, then got back into
Scouting when his first son became a Tiger Cub. He built a new pack up to
more than 100 boys by providing a dynamite program, and went into a
Scout troop about a year ago, where he has been doing a superb job of
delivering the Promise to Scouts. Jeff Iverson also has a special place
in my heart, as he lives the Promise and inspires his Scouts to do the
5) 37 year old soils engineer - Another Life Scout from the 1970s. He
came back as an Assistant Scoutmaster a few months after I became
Scoutmaster of our old troop in November of 1989, when it was down to
4 Scouts and about to die. He is one of the major reasons Troop 225
jumped up to 44 Scouts within 2 1/2 years. Like his older brother, he
was a Scouter's Scouter. Jamie Iverson likewise has a very special place
in my heart because of his willingness to "go the extra mile for boys".
Without him, Troop 225, the oldest Troop in Camarillo would most likely
have died. Instead, the troop, through its leaders, is still helping boys
become good men, as it has since 1953.
6) 18 year old Life Scout - He just turned 18 last Wednesday, and is
waiting for his Eagle Scout board of review, which will be held in December.
He came to the troop meeting on his 18th birthday and signed up as an
Assistant Scoutmaster. He came into my troop from Webelos 6 1/2 years ago.
He is also the other primary reason that Brian in example #1 has stayed in
Scouting, as they are very close friends, the geographical separation
notwithstanding. I strongly suspect that Bret Newton's frienship and
good example has made the difference in keeping Brian in Scouting, moreso
than my presence. Bret has also completed training as an Emergency
Medical Technician and intends to become a physician. Bret is one of those
Scouts who makes the regular drudgery and the occasional pain one incurs as
a Scouter worthwhile.
And (save the best for last):
7) 6 year old Tiger Cub - He was the only Tiger to show up for the Space
Derby last Saturday in my nephew's Cub Scout pack. His father was out of
town on business and one of his grandfathers was trying to help him, but
had not the slightest clue what to do. Poor Sean's "rocket" would only
travel about 6 inches to 4 feet (15cm to 1m) along the "zip line". He
raced with the Wolf Cubs and came in last every time. Sean was a very good
sport about it, but was clearly quite disappointed in the performance of
the "rocket" and was convinced that he had done a _really_ lousy job.
I helped him and his grandfather tune up his "rocket" and we tried it again
just after the Space Derby was over. His "rocket" went all the way down the
track, and little Sean was literally jumping for joy. I explained to Sean
that he had done everything right, but that he had some _very_ weak rubber
bands. Sean got the first place medal for the Tiger Cub Division and went
home a very "happy camper".
As an unintended consequence of giving Sean and his grandpa some TLC, I
missed all but one of my nephew Adrian's 4 heats in his Bear den, where he
took 2 first place and 2 second place finishes with a "rocket" he had done
about 96 percent of the work on (the other 4 percent by Mom, who had never
worked on a Space Derby "rocket" before). Fortunately, both Mom and Dad
and his sisters were there to see and share all his triumphs.
These are the sort of intangibles that keep me in Scouting. As Keith
Monroe said so many year ago in his advice to new Scoutmasters in his
hilarious book, "Be Prepared" (alas, out of print):
"Wait for the rewards."
They are few and far between at first, but they do accumulate over time.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <email@example.com>
Asst. Scoutmaster, Troop 808 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