It is time. After 30 years of serving as the scoutmaster of Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68 I have decided to step down and let someone else assume the role. My last day as the adult leader of the troop will be December 31, 2011. I have had some great times and awesome experiences during those three decades, but it was not always a bed of roses. There were four times I tried to quit, when the frustrations became so intolerable that I just could not handle it anymore. But after a few good nights sleep everything seemed to be a little better so I stayed on.
I still remember that evening in September 1981 when the troop committee appointed this young twenty one year old kid to the position of scoutmaster. I was shocked. I really did not see it coming. I was a little overwhelmed. I accepted the appointment and vowed to do my best for the troop. I took all the training offered by the district and council. I went to roundtables every month. I attended a weeklong scoutmaster training course at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1984. I wanted to be the best scoutmaster that I was capable of being.
As I step down from the position I never dreamed of holding for this long, I have to say that I will not be walking away from the Scouting program. As the first day of the new year arrives I will become a member of the troop committee. I will continue to be a merit badge councilor for eight awards. I do plan to assist the new scoutmaster as he or she prepares to assume their role in the troop. I still plan to attend some of the troop’s activities and outings.
Of course, I have mixed feeling about leaving the role I have held for sixty percent of my life, and nearly all of my adult life. I will miss sitting around the campfire on cool Minnesota evenings. I will miss working closely with Eymard, my assistant for 23 years. But most of all, I will miss working closely with the boys. The boys were my second family. They were and always will be the number one reason for remaining as the scoutmaster for as long as I have.
I do look forward to beginning a new phase of my Scouting career even though I am not quite sure what that will include. I do look forward to having Monday nights free and more weekends available to spend with family and friends. I look forward to having my very first summer vacation away from a Boy Scout camp. (Yes, I have spent every summer vacation of the past thirty one years with Boy Scouts at summer camp, Philmont Scout Ranch, or some other high adventure trip.)
I will not be able to give up Scouting completely. It has been a part of my life for too long. Lem Siddons was a scoutmaster for twenty years before he was retired by his troop. I would rather the idea to retire be mine, and not the committee’s. Reaching the twenty mark kinda became a goal of mine after watching Follow Me Boys in 1984. I never actually thought I would achieve it, but now I can say I not only achieved it but surpassed it by fifty percent. How do you like them apples Lem?