“Do Your Best,” to “Be Prepared”

It’s an exciting season for anyone involved with the Boy Scouts of America.  Cub Scouters are running the Pinewood Derby and planning their Blue & Gold Banquets. Bear Dens (3rd grade boys) are preparing for Webelos (4th/5th graders) campouts – this will be the first time their parents aren’t REQUIRED to go with them (but most Dads do anyway.)  The Webelos II’s (5th grade boys in their last year as Cubs) are preparing to “cross over” into Boy Scouts, and those Boy Scout troops are gearing up to receive a bunch of brand new Scouts.  Summer is looming on the horizon, with thoughts of Summer Camp, Day Camp, Adventure Camp, Fun With Son weekends, the Raingutter Regatta…it’s an exciting time to be me!!!

See, I’m in my fifth year as a Cub Scout leader, and entering my first as the father a full-fledged Boy Scout.  Scouting has become my favorite hobby, ever.  Pack 464 has some of the finest, and most fun-loving, leaders around – in fact, our wives often tell us “I hope the boys enjoy this half as much as you guys do.”  We hope so too, but I’m loath to admit that it’s a secondary concern!  Friday night, at our Blue & Gold Banquet, I got to be a pirate, a Viking, Dug (the dog from the Pixar movie “Up”) and an Imperial Guard from Star Wars.  All in about an hour and a half.

I didn’t see this coming.  Five years ago, when my new Boy Scout was a fledgling Tiger Cub, we were out in the neighborhood, selling popcorn.  He was seven, and already getting used to the many ways people can say “no thanks” when you knock on their door.  At one particular house, a teenage boy answered the door.  He was polite and friendly.  He talked to my son like a real person.  When his mother came to the door, she explained they already had some Scout popcorn, since her son was in the local troop, and he had recently earned his Eagle Scout badge.  Then, she saw the 464 on my son’s shoulder, and decided to buy some popcorn because our Pack was where her son had started, ten years earlier.  Then it hit me: this teenager with the firm handshake, who engaged  a 7-year old kid in man-to-man conversation, and actually looked me in the eye when he spoke…it was Scouting.  And that’s what I wanted my son to be like in ten years.  He’s now halfway there, and I couldn’t be prouder of the young man he’s turning out to be.

I know that not all good guys are Scouts (nor are all Scouts good guys), but I’m sold on the program nevertheless.  Especially since I get to be a pirate, a Viking, an Imperial Guard…and yes, even wear the Cone Of Shame.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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