By Randell Keys
May 09, 2015

Reflections of Scouting

I want to share with you a different view of Scouting.  As a young man I, like many youth in my ward, attended Scout Camp.  I grew up in Jerome Idaho and attended Camp Roach in the Snake River Canyon of Southern Idaho.  I enjoyed the activities like boys do, struggled being away from my mom (yes I am a mommas boy), and ate everything I could; it was hard being 6’6” and having 2 hollow legs.  It was a fantastic adventure.  We played in the mud, swam in the lake, shot arrows and just grew up doing Scouting.Snake River Canyon

I graduated High School, served an LDS Mission, went to College, got married, had children etc., etc.  After graduate school I became a Scouting Professional.  Little to my knowledge of what a professional did I embraced the work.  It was hard adjusting to “the job” after so many years of schooling but WOW, what an incredible field of work.  I get to work alongside volunteers that love the program, other professionals that have a passion for seeing the youth succeed and become ethical, moral decision makers.  What a blessing it has been.

During this time as a professional, one of the many responsibilities I was given was that of a Camp Director.  At first I was confused about what a camp director did because I just remember Camp Roach and the fun but not the everyday aspects of managing, organizing, planning, promoting, hiring and budgeting what needs to happen for a camp to be successful.  Like anything I jumped in with both feet and just did the best I could.

I was assigned to a High Adventure Base located 10 miles as the crow fly’s west of Moab, UT.  I had no clue about weather, climate, equipment, food or what I was getting into.  Needless to say my first year was a learning curve that even the best baseball pitcher in the world would be proud of, but I survived.  Not only did I have an experience, but I was hiring staff that weren’t much younger than me.  That was weird because I was supposed to be the “authority” at camp and felt clueless.  As time went on and as I gained experience and knowledge about running a camp, I became, as we all do, a better person.

During this time as a camp director I had many young men and young women serve on staff at camp.  Like many, they were questioning their future, self, faith and so on.  It was at times like herding cats yet their desire to be better, gain experience, be away from family and grow was what inspired not only me but other staff.  Success is measured by some as “how much you make” or “job title”.  Very few were paid what I wanted to pay them and the “job title” was little more than grunt work.  Please don’t think for a moment that I thought of them as being just a grunt.  The work was hot, Hello Moab in the summer, dirty, sweaty and would wear the best one of them out.  They were hard workers and hard players (yes we played as a staff).

helicopterFor the view.  When you have youth that desire to do their best but may struggle, sometimes it is best to let them struggle.  I saw this at camp many times.  They had to overcome the challenges that were in front of them and sometimes the physical challenge.  Does this lessen who they are capable of becoming?  Maybe, but my job was to help them overcome these “trials” and grow, gain confidence, experience and knowledge.  It was not easy trying to lift those that didn’t want to be lifted or supported.  It was at times frustrating yet to see them grow physically, mentally and in many cases spiritually is one of the greatest joys I gain as a Camp Director.

I know for a fact that the youth that work at camp, especially those that have a desire to serve a mission, gain self-confidence.  It is in their eyes, their heart and can be observed by how they treat others.  This is why Scouting is so vital.  For a long time I have read and recited the Aims of Scouting, but until I saw it in action and witnessed the growth from youth to adulthood it was an ethereal concept.  It was ambiguous and had no real structure.  Now it is a face of one of my boys or girls (I have always treated camp staff as one of my own kids).  It is the light in their eyes, the smile on their face and the love they share with others.  Scouting as a youth taught me the same things, Scouting as an adult teaches the same qualities.

Randall Keys
Author: Randell Keys | District Director and Entrada High Adventure Base Director

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One thought on “Reflections of Scouting

  1. AvatarSteve Faber

    Great reflection Randy. I really like how you worded it that you can tell that youth “gain self-confidence” by observing “how they treat others”. Great to have you as our DE. Go Hobble Creek!


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