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‘Sneak up’ on someone doing good

posted May 30, 2010, 6:36 PM by Unknown user
by Bll Edge


Have you ever caught someone doing good? I often like to “sneak up” on the boys to observe their behavior when adults are not present. Last Friday night I got an opportunity to witness pure goodness.

The Boy Scout National Jamboree celebrating 100 years of Scouting is coming up this summer. The Blue Ridge Council has four contingent Troops assembled with 160 Scouts and Leaders from many of the area Troops from Greenwood to Long Creek. The boys range in age from 12 to 17 years old and hold various positions of responsibility within their home Troops. It is a monumental task to plan and deploy 160 people whom many have never met, for a 500-plus mile trip for 10 days, with all the gear to set up camp and become self sufficient and prepared for everything from inclement weather to personal comfort and hygiene to homeland security! This is not a resort area, but an Army Tank training facility being converted into a 40,000-plus person tent city overnight! I am priv ileged to join my son as a leader for one of the Troops.

In preparation for the 10 day trip in July, the four contingent Troops met in Travelers Rest at Camp Old Indian for the last opportunity to organize and do training before we pack the gear for its final trip to Fort A.P. Hill near Washington, D.C. Part of the agenda for the weekend included a mandatory two-hour leader meeting on Friday night while the boys were left under the direction and supervision of the elected boy Leadership of each of the four Troops. I’ve been an adult leader in Scouting for almost eight years (and I remember my days as a Scout….) and I must say, I recognized the risk of this move. After all, how much damage could occur by leaving 144 teenage boys to their own devices for two solid hours!

Here’s the good news, several months ago each of the four Troops met separately to organize and form the Troop structure. Junior Leaders were elected to “Senior Staff” positions and each Troop organized into four Patrol units who have elected Patrol Leaders and since have begun to form their own identity. Patrol names have been selected, Patrol flags made, Patrol patches ordered and even Patrol yells created. By this weekend, the boys have started to get to know each other. Each Patrol has gone through the Forming and Storming stages of team development and are starting to proceed through the Norming and Performing stages. This is a dynamic that is amazing to watch happen. Over the past few months there has been confusion, frustration, communication problems, struggles, and even anger at times as the boys approach this trip. So, as I sat in that two-hour meeting, I had “confidence” (reserved) that the boys were secure and in good hands under the direction of their Senior Staff.

So, as Ronald Regan used to say, “Trust but verify!” As soon as the meeting was over, I made a beeline for the campsite. I had previously given permission for the boys to build a campfire. However, being conditioned to think about what is the worst thing that could happen, I wanted to see for myself what the boys were up to. As I walked the trail to the campsite, I could see the glow of the fire through the trees. As I got closer, I could hear the loudness of 36 teenage boys at 10 p.m. on Friday. When I neared the end of the trail I stopped to listen. I turned off my headlamp and walked the last 100 feet in the dark. At the edge of the campsite, I found a place to sit, undetected and out of view of the boys. I watched.

For 30 minutes, I observed the boys in their “natural state,” uninhibited by adult intervention. They were not being disruptive, rowdy, dangerous or malicious. Most were sitting around the campfire, taking turns telling jokes and riddles. Bits of useless trivia were being shared sometimes with laughter, sometimes with scoff and sometimes with disbelief. I observed as the boys were running to thei r bunks to get something and running back quickly to not miss any of the action. The loudness was laughter and just boys being boys!

Yes, I like to “sneak up” on the boys. I often can catch someone doing something good. Last Friday night, I “sneaked up” on pure goodness!

Bill Edge is the Scoutmaster for Powdersville Troop 10.

Thanks for reading!
The Powdersville Post

Here is the link to the article on the Powdersville Post website.