scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: The Payoff
Michael A. Poretsky (MPoretsky@AOL.COM
Thu Nov 18 1999 - 09:56:35 CST
Last night we had a graduation ceremony for our SM Fundamentals course on which I had been one of the staff. When I arrived (late from a Council Executive Board meeting), I was asked to "say a few words" even before I got my coat off. It was off the top of my head, but was so well received I thought I'd like to share it with the list.
After congratulating the "graduates" and encouraging them to take Wood Badge I told them about how they are likely to get "paid."
One Saturday last summer, as I was sitting in my Unit's site doing a Board of Review, a car drove up to site. This was unusual for several reasons: the camp does not usually allow cars in and my Unit is composed of Orthodox Jewish Scouts and Leaders who do not drive on Saturday. I figured the people in the car were looking for one of the other units in camp.
A tall man got out of the car and started to walk into the site. I got up and went to see if I could help him.
"Hi," I said. "Can I help you?"
"You can if you're Mike Poretsky." was the surprising answer.
"I'm Mike. Do I know you?"
"You'll recognize me when you get closer." he said.
I got right up to him and looked up into his face (he was about 6'2", I'm 5'7" or so).
"I'm sorry" I said, "I don't seem to recognize you."
He said, "Brad G.."
I was, well, stunned. Brad had been a Scout in my Troop from 1968 to about 1971 or 1972. He had heard that the camp, Ten Mile River Scout Camps, was opening a museum and he remembered how much fun he had as a Scout in two of the camps on the reservation.
While he was in the museum, he mentioned that he had been a member of Troop 611 in the early 70's and did anyone ever hear of them? Sure, he was told. They're in camp right now! So he came right over to see us!
Of course I didn't recognize him! The last time I saw him he was a little shorter than me and had a full head of curly hair! Not only was he much taller than me, but I had the hair advantage.
He, his wife, daughter and son spent a little time with us before they had to leave. I turns out he still lives in Brooklyn not too far from me so we have kept up the contact.
The point is, he told me how much being in the Scouts and Troop 611 had meant to him.
In the day to day struggle to run a unit and bring the program to boys, we often don't get a feel for how we are effecting the lives of the boys with and for whom we are working. It's nice to know that the work we do does mean something to the boys - even if it takes 30 years to find out.
PS: Two weeks later, I ran across another Scout from that "era." Looks like I was doing something right.
Keep at it. We do make a difference.
I used to be a Woodpecker and a good ol' Buffalo too.