Brian Welhoelter and Ken Carpenter were almost ready but as we talked, an older model car drove up with a young Scout and his dad inside. The young Scout got out. He was a skinny little 12 or 13 year old with some physical challenges. His dad looked tired and stressed. Brian said with gusto as he saw the boy, “Hey, I know you, you were in my merit badge class!” The boy acknowledged that fact, but the dad was on a mission and said, “We’re looking for Scout troop such and such. We’ve looked all over and can’t find them. Do you know where they are?” Brian said he did not but pointed to the Lodge where Lisa Jensen, our District Executive, was now parked and said, “I don’t, but Lisa was checking in all the troops and can probably tell you where to find them.” They got back in their car and drove off toward the Lodge.
Feeling a concern for the boy and his dad, I walked over to the lodge and arrived shortly after he had driven off toward another part of the camp where Scouts were preparing their tent sites. I asked Lisa if she had been able to help them. She said their troop had signed up but they hadn’t arrived when she left the entrance of the camp so she had sent the father-son duo to check out another part of camp while she tried to call the Scout leader on a cell phone. When I arrived she had finally reached the Scout leader and found that the troop had decided at the last minute to not come because of some last-minute problems. Lisa was dreading the return of the father and son because the boy was really excited to be at the camp. Lisa said, “I just hate to tell him they are not coming because he’ll be so disappointed. I hope we can get them to stay with another troop.”
Soon the car returned and Lisa said, “I called your Scoutmaster and they are not coming, but you are more than welcome to stay with one of our other troops. Do you have your tent and sleeping bags?” The dad was obviously upset and the color started to rise in his face, “We do, but that’s ok we’ll just go home.” and he drove off in a huff. We felt bad because we could see the boy was about to cry and was obviously upset. Lisa said, “I feel so bad, but I knew that would happen when I told him.” However, to our delight, in several minutes here came their car returning to the Lodge. Obviously the boy had touched the heart of his dad, pleading for him to stay. The man rolled down his window and said, “My boy said he’d be willing to stay with another troop. He’s OK with that.”
The Lord has compassion on small boys because just as they drove up, Brian and Ken were walking up to the Lodge. Brian reassured the boy and his dad that he knew just the troop to put the boy and his dad with. “Follow me.” He said and walked off toward a campsite. The man and his son drove off with Brian and Ken. Thankfully a kind Scoutmaster and his troop said, “Sure, we always bring extra food. Set up right there and come and join us”. The boy got his wish and we were relieved. They set up camp and cooked their meal. They also got to participate in a great campfire program of impromptu skits, songs, stories and a Scoutmaster minute about God knowing each of them and their needs.
The next morning at breakfast I was helping with the serving and saw the boy and his dad in the serving line with their plates. “So, how did it go?” I asked. With a broad smile the dad replied, “It’s all good. Yep, It’s all good.”
And it was all good. The Scout got to stay in a tent with his Dad. He got to do the merit badges and have adventures with boys his age. He got to cook his supper over a fire and do whatever young boys do at fall camp. But, most of all he got to build a relationship with his dad. Camp experiences do that.
That is the reason I support Scouting. This is probably not a boy who is playing “fall ball” or any season ball. He isn’t chosen first or second at much anything and his dad may not even be a participating member of his chartered organization. But this boy is a Scout and he is part of earning merit badges, camping out and participating with other boys, staying with his dad in a tent, watching stars at night, and doing corny things in a skit or song with other boys around a camp fire. And he listens to a Scoutmaster tell of the importance of God and Country before he crawls into his sleeping bag at night. That is why Christ said “ Suffer the little children to come unto me for of such is the Kingdom of God.”
And to all the boys who do play “fall ball” and do get chosen first, second or third or who are regular boys; they take away the same things from Scouting! In the Cedar Breaks District and the Utah National Parks Council we still get to choose our Scout leaders with the same high moral standard we have always supported. If that ever changes the prophet will tell us do something different, but to me Scouting in the Cedar Breaks District is still worth our support. To me it is well worth $50.00, $100.00, $250.00 or even $1000.00 if you can afford it, to support those wonderful volunteers in your unit who lift the lives of young men in the Cedar Breaks District of the Boy Scouts of America… God Bless you all who give of your time and resources to help us!
Author: Ron Heaton | Cedar Break District Chariman, Utah National Parks Council