It began late in the winter of 2004. The troop attended the council’s annual Ripley Rendezvous which takes place at Camp Ripley in Minnesota. Five Scouts from the troop attended. Two of them were newly graduated Webelos Scouts, two were boys who had not yet reached Second Class, and one was an experienced Scout.
The program at Ripley is based on patrol competition. Each of the twenty-some stations would test the patrols on their Scout knowledge, teamwork, and patrol spirit. The top three patrols of each of the four districts, along with the top three patrols overall, are recognized for their achievement at the Saturday evening program.
This year the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 were actually from three different patrols so they formed a new patrol for the outing and called themselves the Cwazy Wabbit Patrol. The came up with a pretty good patrol call before they left for the stations Saturday morning.
I knew this was a very inexperienced patrol so I made a deal with them Friday night. If they would take a spot in the top three patrols on Saturday night then I would buy the pizza on the way home Sunday morning. I thought I had made a pretty safe deal. I was sure there would be no way this patrol would take first, second, or third place.
It is amazing what boys will do to make their scoutmaster buy pizza.
When the Saturday night program began I was not very worried. Yes, the boys had done well at the stations during the day, and most of the station captains were impressed with the patrol’s call and spirit, but there were a lot of patrols at this year’s event.
It was time in the program to announce the winners. I am sure my jaw dropped when the Cwazy Wabbit Patrol of Troop 68 took first place for the Scenic District. The boys were very excited and were grinning from ear to ear as they went to the stage to accept their ribbon. I have a vague memory of someone saying how good the pizza would taste on the way home as they left me to approach the stage, or maybe I just imagined that.
The second shock came when the Cwazy Wabbits were called on again to come to the stage to accept the ribbon for second place overall. I knew then that it would be a long time before I would hear the end of this from the Scouts. But my smile was just as big as theirs was as the received their honors. They had made me proud. The boys’ faces were smiling the whole time they ate their pizza on the way home Sunday morning.
The spirit of the Cwazy Wabbit had made his first contact with the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 from Melrose.
(to be continued…)