Sunday, October 20, 2013


I don't quite know when this entry will be published, but it'll likely be sometime in September.

I don't really know why I'm writing it even, aside from getting a few thoughts down in the ethers while the moments are still fresh in my mind. So here goes.

I've been called as the new scoutmaster in our ward.

That set me to thinking: Scoutmasters. What to expect of scoutmasters. I knew only one scoutmaster when I was a scout: Scott Haroldsen, a builder and retired Denver cop who, dint of his former profession, had lots of stories to tell us about the "bad dudes." I don't recall a single one of them. I do remember being riveted by them, in a pre-teen sort of way. We also got to shoot his .45, which I shot once and decided I would never shoot one again.

Other recollections:

Going on a camping trip in the snow up beyond Kelly Canyon and watching him yank a pair of burning sneakers away from the campfire.

On that same trip, him confiscating some C-batteries out of a tape player (we had tape players back then, kids) and throwing them into the woods because we weren't supposed to be listening to music while camping.

Other leaders, of course, came along, but not for scouts. There was Eric Haroldsen (some relation, I'm sure) who took us camping at Lake Leigh in Wyoming and introduced us to poker and swimming in the rain.

I've been on a few camping trips with our current scoutmaster, Dan Winterholler, and feel like I've got some big shoes to fill. He's got size 1,000s.

Brother Whitworth said when he gave me the call that they like to keep on to their scoutmasters for a long time -- Dan's been in for years. I don't know exactly how long, but I do know it's been long enough that he's ready for a break.

Paul Fairborn will remain as the assistant scoutmaster -- don't know why they didn't call him to the job, but there you go. I think we'll get along fine. I need to do more on the building relationships of trust thing, and get to know people and such. Not my strong suit, but one I'll have to work on.

This painting -- from Norman Rockwell, to be sure -- illustrates how I feel about the whole situation. Michelle's trying to help. She bought me two official pairs of Boy Scout socks. I have almost a complete uniform now. But I'm not sure how it's going to fit.

I was assistant scoutmaster for the 11-year-old scouts in Sugar City before we moved to Ammon, but that was mostly because there was some concern with how our oldest would adjust to scouting. He did fine. Maybe that's a sign for me. Maybe it's also a sign I need to get a hat like this kid has.

I blame Michelle for this, of course. About a year ago, she convinced me to go to Wood Badge this summer, as she's on staff and thought it would be a good thing for me to do. So I signed up at the University of Scouting, where I won a $50 scholarship. Then we talked to the bishopric, who said they'd pay the rest of my way there. That got me on their radar. So my goose was cooked.

I've now got to figure out how to shuffle my work schedule so I can go to scout camp.

Now I've got too figure out how to pretend like I enjoy camping in the snow. That's going to be the hardest part.

Addendum: I wrote this post a while ago, shortly after I received the first notice I was being handed this job. Since then, I've been through Wood Badge training. I can't think of a better way to get trained up in a hurry and to feel a bit less intimidated about a new calling. If only other jobs in the church had such intensive, valuable training for new (and old) people in such jobs.

Addendum No. 2: Today it's official. And you'll note it's late October, not late September, when this happened. Feeling overwhelmed, but also feeling extremely lucky. I have two other scout or young men leaders anxious to help out, and I'm going to need it. I also get to associate with a pretty good group of boys. And we've got a busy week planned: Trip to the local haunted house, a merit badge pow-wow, and then a camping trip which I'll have to miss because we're attending the BYU-Idaho Halloween Concert Friday night. Oh, what terrors await. And I'm not talking about the haunted house.

Addendum No. 3: Just finished meeting with the former Scoutmaster, whom I know well since I've been on many a campout with him since we moved into the ward a year and a half ago. He's a fountain of knowledge and understanding and yet has the biggest grin on his face because now he's an assistant ward clerk. Big shoes to fill, big shoes to fill, big shoes to fill . . .

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