Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Eagles, Hardware, and Scouting

I've been quite busy this week helping my second son work through his Eagle Project. He is building gates and fencing for Colossal Cave National Park. His birthday is soon, so it's push time right now. I have no idea why he waited 3 whole years to do his project, but there it is. He waited. Silly son.

At any rate, he decided to go down and ask Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, and Frys for donations. None of the other boys in our ward have been able to get anything from Home Depot for various reasons. I was almost loath to even ask them, since it was an extra trip. But Hunter donned his uniform and we went down there.

The stores all told us that they'd get back with us. To me that meant that there was a distinct possibility that we'd be doing fund raisers for the money and that I'd just wasted three hours of precious time I could have spent writing. True to form, none of them called back.

We decided to go down anyway. Again, my son put on the uniform and got spiffed up and we drove down there, braving traffic and road construction. On the way, I told Hunter we needed to pray. He looked askance at me, but then said a very heartfelt prayer asking for help in this honorable endeavor.

We got to Home Depot and they could not have been more kind. It wasn't a matter of having to dredge up the money from somewhere, but of finding the cheerful, helpful, complementary man who was going to give us the money. We left with $25 worth of free lumber, several pats on my son's back from old scouts, a card for a free bowling game, and an amazing feeling.

I looked over at my son and said, "H., that was a direct answer to our prayer. God takes care of His servants." 
He agreed. He seemed a bit amazed that it had worked out so well--that God had helped us so incontrovertibly. I wasn't.

Next we went to Lowes where they said they'd exhausted their extra funding helping out Japan. They did, however, say that their regional manager might be able to help us. So we are waiting on confirmation for him.

Next we went to Ace, where they showered us in cement, screws, fittings, and every bit of hardware we needed. Again, they absolutely couldn't have been more wonderful, helpful people.

Then we went to the other Home Depot, where they said they'd call us today. We'll be down there in a little while in a scout uniform and smile. Frys helped him out with food.

Can I just say that I am, once again, brilliantly, and unquestionably blessed? I have once more seen the hand of my Best Friend in the workings of my life. He shows me daily that I matter to Him. I hope I have made it clear to my son that it wasn't a coincidence--that he knows exactly why several busy people took time out of their busy lives and money out of their tills to help us out.

This is Monday. On Saturday we went out to Colossal cave. I was glad to see so many people there. Many of them were people we had helped through their own Eagle projects.
We clipped the old barbed wire, pulled the old fence posts out (including a rotten railroad tie), re-dug holes, clipped spiny bushes back, and then cemented the new poles into the ground. At the end, we cleaned up the area cleaner than we'd found it, and finished building the last gate.

For next Saturday we just have to screw the crosspieces to the fence, and hang the gates. I'm hoping that the uneven ground won't bollix the 'wheel' idea Hunter had for stabilizing the big gates. If it does, though, I'm confident that he'll be able to drop back and punt. He's done well at that so far. It has been a very worthy project.

I must say that the Scouting program is truly inspired. I wish the men in charge could really catch the vision of that and make a fantastic program for our Venturers. After the Scout level, our program tends to fall apart, somewhat. I've seen so many boys have to rush like crazy at the last minute to finish their projects before they turn eighteen, like my second son and like my eldest. Number Two son has been ready for this project for three years! In all that time, he mostly played sports, instead of finishing up more merit badges. That is a break in the system.

I'm not speaking out of my hat, here. I am a unit commissioner in charge of several units, both packs and troops. I have done Woodbadge (yeah Bears!) and was a troop guide there (yeah Eagles!). I've been to National Camp School to certify as Camp Director/Program Director. I've trained countless leaders. I've run many Cub Scout camps and staffed those and Boy Scout camps. I've been an Asst. Den Leader, Den Leader, Cubmaster, and Assist. Cubmaster.

I see the later boys getting lost, like hikers in a dense fog. Their leaders rarely get enough training and can barely figure out what they need to do for the boys. It's easier just to let the boys play basketball. After all, the boys are supposed to be doing it all now, aren't they? It's the blind leading the blind, and a colossal waste of time, in my opinion.

Leaders need to GET TRAINED so they know what the heck they're doing--so they know how much to do or influence--and how often to step back. They need to care about the boys enough not to waste their time with babysitting measures. They need to care about them enough to show enough leadership so that the boys learn what it is to be a real and effective leader.

Don't even get me started on girls. I think the girls have been robbed in this area for years. Nearly everywhere else in the world girls go right up through the Scout ranks along with boys. Here, they're relegated to lame Girl Scouts, which is a whole other can of centipedes.

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