It was a beautiful evening in Melrose on that April day in 1980. A great day to get a few friends together, meet at the city park, and play some ball. I was nineteen years old, almost done with tech college, and was lucky enough to find a fulltime job and a place to rent in my hometown.
We had been playing ball for a little while when I noticed some boys taking down a tent on the other side of the park. “Could that be a Boy Scout group?” I asked myself. There had not been a troop in town for at least 4 or 5 years. I had been a Boy Scout for a few years when I was in my mid teens and enjoyed it. I had thought about joining a troop as an adult leader after finishing college. Maybe this was my chance.
I walked over to the small group packing up the tent and talked to the adult leader, who also happened to be a policeman in town. He admited that he was the scoutmaster of the newly formed troop. In fact, the troop was only a few months old. I asked if he needed any help? He was no idiot so he took me up on my offer. I became an assistant scoutmaster.
Little did I realize that I would still be involved with that troop 30 years later.
During the last 30 years I have seen a lot of boys come and go in Scouting. I have formed strong friendships with some of the boys that have continued into their adult lives. I have gone on many trips with the Scouts, including a National Jamboree and several trips to Philmont Scout Ranch. I have participated in many training sessions, have trained other leaders, and made many friends with other leaders.
I still find it hard to believe that is was three decades ago this month that I became an assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 68. I would have not believed anyone if they would have told me that I would stay with the program this long. It has been fun, but there has also been plenty of challenges. Will I be with it for another thirty years? I doubt it, but you never know. Only time will tell.