Getting Older

on October 19, 2007 in Leadership, Scouting

I began my career as a Boy Scout troop leader early in my life. I was only a few months shy of my twentieth birthday when I became the assistant scoutmaster for Troop 68. Two months after my twenty-first birthday I was appointed the scoutmaster, a position I still hold today. There have been a few unique markers along this highway of my Scouting life that I would like to share with you.

The first marker was when I became the scoutmaster. Suddenly I was “responsible” for the troop. I was not the young assistant scoutmaster any longer who was practically still one of the gang. I was now the adult “figurehead” of Scouting in town. More then anything else, becoming the troop’s scoutmaster marked the beginning of my adulthood.

During the eighties the troop began going to Philmont Scout Ranch. I will admit that one of the reasons I stayed on as a scoutmaster is because I wanted to go to Philmont. I went to Philmont in 1986 and 1989 with the Scouts from Melrose. That first decade seemed to go by pretty quickly.

The second marker caught me a little off guard. Boys began joining the troop that were born after I signed on as an assistant scoutmaster. Two years later boys entered Scouting that would come to know me as the only scoutmaster in Melrose during their lifetime. I was beginning to feel old at thirty-one.

The third marker was when I began receiving invitations to weddings of troop alumni. I was even asked to be the best man at one of those weddings.

The fourth marker was when I noticed that the parents of some of the Scouts were younger then I was. Holy cow, I thought. I have been doing this scoutmaster thing for a long time. I was really starting to feel older.

Another marker came along when next generation cousins of former troop members began joining Scouting. In fact, my assistant scoutmaster, who is eighty years old, joined the troop when his youngest son was a Boy Scout. Since then, two of his grandchildren, sons of my assistant’s oldest son, have been members of the troop. I have seen three generations of this family involved with the Scout program on some level.

I think the next marker will be when the son of a former Boy Scout joins the troop. That has not happened yet, but it could. While most of the troop members have moved to other cities as they got older, there are a few that have decided to stay in this area. There seems to be more daughters then sons among that small group at the moment. I am thinking it may be time to retire when the first son of a troop member joins the troop. (he writes with a grin on his face.)

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