Scoutmaster Matt Johnson, Troop 592, sponsored by the LDS Parkway 2nd Ward, made this report to his congregation after a week at Blue Mountain Scout Camp. His assigned topic was charity.
Charity is not one of the 12 points of the Scout Law, or identified in the Scout Oath; it’s not even one of the Young Women values. If it was, it’s color would be tan. However, the Young Women are taught about Good Works and a Scout is loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind; they should do a good turn daily.
Alma 7:24 states:
“And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.”
Mathematically stated, one who abounds in good works must have faith, hope, and charity. Moroni tells us that one aspect of charity is that it “seeketh not her own” (Moroni 7:45). It is this definition that I’d like to speak of today.
We had four Scouts attend Blue Mountain Scout Camp this year. Karter brought 5-man tent so all the boys could bunk together. They pitched the tent. Then realizing that his cot wouldn’t fit inside, Dallin set up his bed outside on a tarp. Karter didn’t want Dallin to sleep alone, so he moved his bedding outside as well. Is this charity?
Monday night we talked about the iron rod and the consequences of both those who held tightly to it, and those who let go. The Council’s Hold Fast Unto It medallion reminds us of our commitment to help one another hold fast to the rod. Is this charity?
With few exceptions, our Scouts were never by themselves in their classes. They had another troop member with them. They spent the week with each other. Perhaps they don’t typically hang out with each other, but they did last week. Inclusiveness was something they decided upon. Is this charity?
Tuesday night at camp we went on the Honor Trail, a short hike up Dedication Hill. There were 12 stops along the trail. At each stop, we were told a portion of a story about the worth souls. We were also asked to commit to living a specific point of the Scout Law: Trustworthy, Loyal, etc. Those who did so were given a colored bead. Each trait had a different colored bead.
Dallin used a plant stem to keep the beads in order. We reached the top of the hill after the sun had set. We could see into Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. As we looked at the beautiful scenery, we had a devotional and spoke of what we had learned. Chase, our Chaplain’s Aid, directed our discussion.
“What color was kind?” He asked Dallin.
Looking at his stack of beads in the dim light, Dallin replied, “It’s a tannish color.”
Then Chase gave his five-word sermon: “I think we’re all tan.”
Sometimes being kind means we loose social standing among our so-called “friends” who don’t understand the meaning of being friendly. Charity causes us to look past any and all discriminating factors. Is being kind to one another charity?
At camp, it was 90 degrees in the shade. Four-hundred-gallon water containers or water buffaloes, as they were called, were spread throughout camp and 5-gallon water coolers were at each Merit Badge station. If we were lucky, the water in the cooler was cold.
As we arrived at the Art canopy, the counselor was asking for a volunteer to help her refill the 5-gallon cooler while she ran to get a bag of ice. The closest water buffalo was about 200 yards away. Knowing this, many Scouts working on the Art Merit Badge didn’t respond to the woman’s request. However, within seconds Dallin raised his hand and said he’d go. He was the only volunteer. Is this charity?
While Cooper, our Super Trooper didn’t care for Environmental Science, he didn’t give up. Scouts paraphrase 2 Nephi 2:27 this way: “…the Environmental Science Merit Badge Counselor seeketh that all Scouts might be miserable.” Cooper took the time to complete this, and other not-so-fun Merit Badges. Friday night he eagerly offered us his Merit Badge Worksheets to help start the briquettes for our dessert. Is this charity?
Brother Walker is a fantastic fisherman. Each time we went fishing, the boys gathered around his tackle box, asking for bubbles, bobbers, quick changes, treble hooks, and a hook’s-worth of Chartreuse Glitter Power Bait—the only thing the fish would bite.
He helped rig up lines even though he knew the gambling odds of snags and loosing tackle were to the lake’s advantage—not his. He quickly recognized that the fish were at the bottom of the lake and that success required his bait to be 6′ off the lake’s floor. It’s no wonder that over ¾ of the fish we caught were on his pole. He freely gave advice: “If your hook isn’t in the water, you won’t catch a fish.” He shared his knowledge with us all. Is this charity?
The bishopric arrived Friday afternoon, after a five-hour drive to camp. They cheered on the Scouts as they tried to finish up their last Merit Badge. They got to shoot the final 10 rounds at the rifle range. My humble charity prevents me from telling you which leader is the best shot. They fixed up the Bishop’s famous bacon potatoes. He even reluctantly allowed us to add cheese to our portions. Before retiring for the night, we had a fireside. After a hymn, Bishop Martin prayed for our young men. Then the bishopric left us with a spiritual message from President Monson on how to be worthy priesthood holders. We were edified as we felt the Spirit of God. Is this charity?
Each of these stories is an example of charity. I know that as we “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart” we can obtain charity, and become like Christ. Without charity we are nothing. I pray that we will be something. Even something tannish.
Author: Matthew Johnson | Scoutmaster, Troop 592, sponsored by the LDS Parkway 2nd Ward,