Troop 93 Farewell
Chuck May Scoutmaster's Minute
28 May 1993
Well ... the time has come. This is a very difficult talk to give, because this Troop has been so much a part of the life of the May family for so many years. While we are not leaving Scouting as a whole, we are leaving the part we love most.
For more than a year I've been trying to pretend that this day would not come. When we were organizing this Troop almost seven years ago, Mr. Rosen asked me how long I planned to stay in the Scoutmaster job. I gave him a vague answer, something like "As long as I can", but at the time I pictured myself as running the Troop for my grandsons. That may happen eventually, but there will have to be a break.
I would like to have waited until Sam made Eagle, or Sean, Keppy, Jonathan, Richard, or Joe. Or maybe until David made Eagle, or Chris, or Todd Keiser and Brian Westerman.
But I hadn't counted on three foot operations, a killer job two hours from home, and a doctor who finally laid my health priorities out in black and white. So, much as I want to complete that dream, it's more important to take time now to restore my health and my family's health.
I could spend this time focusing on the leaders who helped to inspire, conceive, and organize the Troop - Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. May, Mr. Rosen, Mrs. Skully, Reverend Mingus - and the others who joined us as we grew. Most have become close and, I hope, long lasting friends.
I need to thank the Church for the opportunity to lead this Troop, the leaders and parents for their support, and the boys for the motivation to run the Troop.
We've worked with about 75 boys over these six and a half years. Six made Eagle, with another five or six within striking distance. Others stayed for just a few months. But they all left images:
Of backpacks full of snow;
Of Phil Way's backpack full of six packs of root beer and cans of Pringles;
Of reveille by saxophone;
Of Nathan Helsabeck as a medieval serving wench;
Of Amazons on the Allagash;
Of a current Life Scout who spent his first summer at camp trying to find a way to kiss Theresa, the Trading Post Manager; and
The rhythmic tap of a souvenir baseball bat on the back of the driver's seat ... ALL THE WAY ACROSS KANSAS!
The boy's cooking, too, left images. There was Dave's Chicken Slop, Soup Kielbasa, British Blood Pie, Spambalaya, and a lot of variations on pancakes, including Scramble Cakes, Smurf Cakes, and Wimp Cakes.
Those were the good ones. There were also Bionic Pancakes from the first SPL's Challenge that were nearly indestructible, Dragon Snot Pie, "Special" Pirate Camporee Brownies, Pancake Syrup made with lemonade mix instead of sugar, any food from camp, Richmoor Blueberry Cobbler, and Richmoor Mexican Bean Tostadas (come to think of it, anything from Richmoor). And of course, David Rosen's Meat Lovers' Special Beef Stroganoff.
Finally, there are the images which make your eyes water just a little, when saying "I hate rabbits" doesn't seem to help:
Todd Locke's Tenderfoot;
Scoutmaster's Minutes at Eagle ceremonies, especially for your own son;
A boy who was dropping out of the Troop, but who came to a meeting just to thank the Troop for the experiences;
The peaceful sound of loons at sunrise on Round Pond in the North Maine Wilderness;
Watching a boy, about whom we had real concerns, mature before our eyes as he worked toward Eagle; and
The way the embers of a campfire shimmer as they die out, late on a cold, windy night after the boys are asleep.
I know that I'm leaving you in good hands. Mrs. Phillips was one of the founders of the Troop, its first Committee Chairman, and the driving force behind the outdoor program which has been a signature of the Troop. The ASM force is expanding after a couple of lean years of three or four people doing most of the outings, and the Troop Committee is stronger than it has ever been. So, we'll be around when we can, but I don't fear for the health of the Troop.
Jean, I want to leave you with some words which describe what I have tried to do with the Troop: They define ten needs of a boy
1. To climb a mountain and look afar.
2. To sit around an embered campfire with good friends.
3. To test his strength and skill on his own.
4. To be alone with his own thoughts and his God.
5. To be ready to reach out and find the hand of an understanding adult, ready and willing to help.
6. To have a code to live by .. easily understood and fair.
7. To have a chance to play hard, just for the fun of it .. and work hard, for the thrill of it.
8. To have a chance to fail .. and to know why.
9. To have and to be a good friend, and have a chance to prove both. and
10. To have a hero .. and a vision to measure him by.
There's a song that your grandparents probably remember: "I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places" - wherever Scouts are - at Camporees and Scout Shows, on the trail and in camp; wherever I see you, I'm sure I will be as proud of Troop 93, my Troop, in the future as I have been in the past.
© Chuck May, 1996
May be distributed freely, with attribution, for non-commercial use within the Scouting community.
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