Many a year ago, I jumped into the Boy Scout Program. We lived in a small northern Indiana town, St John. I believe a flyer was passed around Kolling Elementary announcing the initiation of a new Scout Troop. I don’t remember how I became to be involved, I just remember being at the meetings, after having shopped for a uniform and having my mother sew on the arm insignias.
I remember knowing a couple of the other boys in the troop, but not all of them. I do recall, excitedly telling my mother that I was being chosen to be the Senior Patrol Leader! That is like being a sergeant in the Army. I suppose that I was the choice of the leaders, because I didn’t have enough friends to make it a popularity vote. Scouting ran along well. My father’s job only allowed him to be home on weekends. So, weekends were family times, going to my grandparents cabin, etc. Sadness then struck my scouting world. The first scout weekend event found me unable to attend. I had gone to the cabin. At the next scout meeting, the Leaders made me explain my absence from the event. It was required for a Senior Patrol Leader (me) to attend scout functions, I was de-frocked!
Summers found my mother and I at my grandparents cabin, scouting became hit-or-miss. I wanted to earn the badges, I read the books, dreamed, but never was around enough to try for any of them.
In my teen years we moved closer to my fathers’ work location, in middle-Indiana. Seeing boys I wanted to make as my friends in the Explorer Scouting program, I again made the jump into scouts. I don’t remember what we did, except for this one event. The area Explorer’s were planning a canoe event, riding down the Tippecanoe River, into the Wabash River, stopping just north of Lafayette. I don’t remember if I was elected, OR if my big mouth volunteered my coordination services for our troops’ involvement. We had enough scouts sign up for 3 canoes.
The week of the canoe event, found every one of my Explorer Scout “friends” dropping out, except for me. True, this was an EXPLORER event, but I was embarrassed to inform the area Explorer Leaders that our troop folded! I made some quick phone calls and filled our canoes with Boy Scouts, who would ever know, it was just “fun event”.
The day of the canoe float trip, I was as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof. The scouts and I met at the church, a scouts’ father took us to the launch point–all went well, no one seemed to notice that our Explorers looked younger than most. All was well, except for the grumpy boy scout that got stuck in my canoe.
Our two other canoes shot out like crazy, my canoe enjoyed a leisurely float ride, mostly because I was getting blisters from using the paddle. Little did I know what awaited me.
Our canoe was one of the later ones to arrive at the stopping point, I was in fact the last of our three vessels! There to greet us was the Area Explorer Leader and our scouts’ father. Who, standing on the bank of the river, was boisterously exclaiming, how the Boy Scouts beat he Explorers!!! Little did I know that he had pumped his Boy Scouts up to make it a race!
Upon explaining my situation to the Area Explorer Leader, I was berated and all of our canoes were disqualified.
This being my second embarrassment in the world of scouting, I eventually just fell away from the program.