Your faithfulness remains from one generation to another;
you established the earth, and it abides. Psalm 119:90
I was impressed. I shouldn’t be – I’ve known most of these guys since their 1st or 2nd grade when they were Cubs. And now, after 10 days, they are sporting scruffy beards and mustaches. I noted that I have watched them grow into manhood. And not only physically but maturing as adult leaders in their thought and expression.
You would think they would be exhausted and quiet, ready for a good night’s sleep before they head home tomorrow morning. But as we sat around the private dining room table at “The James” this evening, the conversation was typically male jocularity. And yet it turned to thoughtful insights – admittedly urged by the adults present. (btw – check out The St. James Hotel if you are into Western lore and/or really good food, a haunted room, Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Annie Oakley, and a tin ceiling with, I think 16 bullet holes: http://www.exstjames.com/
We did the traditional “Blossoms, Thorns & Buds” where each member shares their best experience of the day / trek, the worst thing that happened, and what they look forward to.
And then the question was brought to the table: What will you take back with you to the rest of Troop One? And they gave very mature, thoughtful, responsible insights as to how they can inspire and prepare a new generation of Scouts to have such an experience as has transformed them these past two weeks.
Little did they really know what to expect when they arrived. One of the guys said he had gone on the Internet and seen pictures and read descriptions of the Philmont experience, but he wasn’t prepared for what he actually saw of this expansive mountain territory when he got off the bus. Others shared about climbing these mountains, riding the horses, the spar poles, wilderness experience, mountain lions, bear, snakes, wasps in a latrine – survival tactics that a Scout doesn’t experience at a local Scout Camp, well, maybe except the bear and daddy-longlegs. Certainly not 10 days of trail food, hanging bear bags to ‘hide’ smellables like the rest of your food outside the reach of the bear.
Each shared how they wanted to bring back to the local troop new ways of thinking of things, new ways of preparing themselves for extreme experiences, new ways of leading the Troop to those new experiences of survival techniques. One even remembered why Lord Baden-Powell established Scouting in the first place – wilderness survival.
I think the next generation of Scouts will be well-prepared. After all that is our motto: “Be Prepared.” From one generation the excitement will be passed to another generation. Who knows how far they will go!
It truly was a celebratory dinner, and for which I am grateful to have been invited to share. I hope to be around to welcome a new generation of Scouts to God’s Country – those inspired and awed by the stories they hear in weeks – and years – to come.