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Watch Me — another Scouting Story

April 1, 2017

FullSizeRenderMy middle child, my spirited, stubborn, has-to-be-different kid, just graduated from Cub Scouts and crossed over into Boy Scouts. Last night, along with fourteen other 5th grade boys, this kid walked across a 5-foot wooden bridge and went from the mischievous imp he was when he started out as a Tiger, and came out a young man, a Boy Scout, ready for whatever adventures lay ahead.

As a den leader for my son for the past five years, I’ve been lucky enough to witness these boys as their best. I’ve watched them literally climb to new heights as they tackle the fears of climbing walls; I’ve seen them perform on local television, laughing in the face of stage fright. I’ve followed along as they hiked one more mile on already-tired legs, cringed as they learned how to start fires and fire BB guns, and held my breath as they jumped off rock cliffs into a fresh water spring.

Our job as den leaders was to be there to guide them and keep them safe, so we tried to be as aware as possible with so many young boys who can’t seem to sit still long enough to listen to directions. But sometimes we missed things. We had to look away to help tie a shoe, measure a high jump, chop cooking ingredients or point out wildlife. We blinked once in a while and had to recount heads, yell at the top of our lungs and grumble as we cleaned up many, many, MANY messes.Scottie Tigers pack mtg

But the coolest part about this group of kids was they didn’t let us miss a thing.

“Watch me!” they used to shout when they were younger.

“Look at THIS!” they beckoned with each new discovery.

Even when bogged down with scheduling, organizing, and trying to corral this herd of unbroken mustangs, their exclamations of joy at each new achievement meant we didn’t miss a thing.

As they got older, and the challenges became tougher, we wondered if how they would fare. But in typical boy fashion, they pushed each other much farther than we could as leaders.

Some of the encouragement came in the “you can do it!” form.  Other times, the best outcomes were the result of a “Betcha can’t….” challenge.  But the response to each of those gauntlets thrown by their peers, always came in familiar form.

“Oh yeah? WATCH me!!”

Many times, success followed that phrase. Other times, they failed. But I can’t think of a single time with this group of boys that one failure was where it ended. They took their missteps and tried again. And made some adjustments and tried again.

It is that “Watch Me!” spirit that I’m going to miss now that they’re moving on.

Don’t blink with this bunch, future Troop leaders. They are going to be a group worth watching.

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If you liked this, also check out…

Sharing a Scouting Story

“Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout” on National Geographic

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim Taylor permalink
    April 1, 2017 2:13 PM

    Funny… I read your crossover post a couple hours before I am heading to the church where I will be MC’ing an Eagle Court of Honor for one of the boys in our troop who has been a good friend of our younger son, who got Eagle last summer.
    As an ASM for the troop these past 8 years, I am now reflecting on all the youth we’ve watched come through the program starting out as imps, as you put it, and turning into fine young men–like one boy who somehow managed to put his swim trunks on inside-out (how on earth can that happen with the mesh liner built in?!) for an early-morning polar bear swim at resident camp his first summer with us, to now being SPL and driving himself to the meetings! And the young man whose achievement of the Eagle rank we will be celebrating this afternoon, coming to us scared all those years ago with his grandparents after they rescued him from a mentally-abusive domestic situation with his father. It has been my great privilege to serve these boys in our troop, guiding and watching them grow and learn.
    I am excited for you, Stacy, as you enter this fantastic chapter of your son’s life! Relish it. It goes by quickly

    • Tim Taylor permalink
      April 1, 2017 2:14 PM

      Stacey. (Sorry!)

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