I was a pretty good student in high school. Mathematics was my best class. I did well in English classes, but not so well in phy ed class. (I was the 98 pound weakling of my class, literally.) I did like to read, but I never considered myself a writer. If someone had told me back then that I would someday be writing articles for the local newspaper, or penning scripts for the local cable access television station, or posting entries to internet blogs, why, I probably would have laughed in their face. And then go back to reading whatever book I was into at the moment.
I may have had no desire to be a writer when I was in high school, but when I was nineteen years old my first article about the local Scouting troop and pack was published in the local weekly paper. I was the new assistant scoutmaster of Troop 68 in June, 1980, totally unaware of what I was about to get myself into.
Those first few articles were only a few paragraphs long, co-written by one of the committee members. They covered what happened during troop and den meetings. Short articles, and straight to the point. As the years passed, my writing style began to change and develop. I focused more on the monthly activities, and less on the humdrum meetings. The articles became less frequent, but they became longer. Pictures accompanied the articles so the reader could see what the Scouts were doing in addition to reading about them.
In 1986, five Troop 68 Boy Scouts and myself spend two weeks at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. I kept a journal while hiking through the mountains. Using those notes from my journal, and the pictures taken during the trip, I wrote a long article for the local newspaper. I think I got a little long winded. The article ended up being a two parter, with each part taking up nearly half a page of the paper with the photos.
I have written many articles about Scouting during my twenty seven years with Boy Scout Troop 68. I have saved these articles and keep them in four scrapbooks. I now have three local newspapers that agree to print my articles when I write them. You might think I am making a little money with all that writing. Not a cent. I write the articles to promote Scouting, not to make money.
I still get a warm feeling when someone mentions that they enjoyed reading one of my articles. I will not lie, I am rather proud of myself for being able to write something that some people enjoy reading. But I am also humbled that people enjoy reading things that I write. After all, I am not a professional writer. Stephen King has nothing to worry from me.
Hmmm… That gets me thinking. Maybe I should write a book about my Scouting experiences. Maybe title it, “The Scoutmaster Thinks, and Unfortunately Wrote It Down.“