Support Scouting

My Thoughts

Dr. Bill AtwoodNovember 29, 2012 

In 1974 a young man, David Smith, accepted a role that he could never have predicted would last 38 years and it appears that role will continue for a few more years.

Dave accepted the role of being the Scoutmaster of North Fork Troop 357 and hundreds of camping trips, close to 2,000 troop meetings, committee meetings and other planning sessions the work still is there to do.

Boy Scouting changes boys into men who live by a different code than most others. The Scout Law is the only set of rules in a Scout Camp. The 12 words tell a boy how he should live. Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, tifty, be, clean and reverent. The Scout Oath teaches a boy what is expected. "On my Honor; I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country. To obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."

The skills Scouting teaches will transform a boy into a man with a mindset of being prepared, giving of himself in service to others, and a respect for authority.

These lessons are ones that most parents want their sons and daughters to learn. Girl Scouts help the young ladies in our area learn these valuable life lessons and Boy Scouts do the same for the boys. Scouting is just one of those important cogs that create a better society for us.

Men such as Dave Smith who step up to the plate and accept the job of running a Scout Troop are in for a load of work. Badges must be earned, and skills must be taught and activities must be planned and Scouts must be counseled and encouraged to live up to the ideals of Scouting. There still exists another component -- fund raising.

A troop needs funds to carry on the business of getting the badges into the hands of the boys to be sewn onto the uniforms. Camps cost money for site reservations and a week long summer camp is very expensive and often beyond the reach of many kids and their parents. So with everything else a Scoutmaster must do he needs to raise many dollars to provide financial help to Scouts.

There is a fly in the ointment because the Scout Law teaches the concept of "Thrifty." In the Scout Handbook it teaches that a Scout needs to earn his own way and pay his own way. So Scoutmasters can't just place a few phone calls to former Scouts and local leaders to ask for checks to cover the expense. The Scouts must earn it. That's right, "The old-fashioned way."

The Scouts in North Fork have their major fundraiser of selling freshly cut Christmas Trees. The dads and the Scouts go out shiver in the cold as they cut trees to sell to us for our Christmas celebrations. The troop gets the permits, and then does the work of the cutting, transporting, sorting, stacking, loading, unloading, selling and helping tie the tree to the top of your car. All for $2.75 a foot and they always give you the first foot free so that you may cut it off when you get home to allow the tree to soak up the water.

The current North fork Scout program serves about 60 boys and girls and Dave's first Scouts would now be in their late 40s or early 50s. They benefited from Scouting and we all did as well.

When you buy a tree from those Scouts you are dealing with a future leader. That boy is asking you to be his customer so that he can spend some time in the pursuit of goals that don't include being in a gang of thugs.

We can help. The North Fork Tree sale begins at 9 a.m. this Saturday right behind the fire station/ library in North Fork. Go out on a limb and invest in a future leader of our country.

I'll see you there.

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