I’ve been a scoutmaster for 13 years now. So long that I’ve seen boys go through scouting, a few got their Eagles, a few have served LDS missions, at least one (that I know of) has gotten married and just had his first child, and one… well… one, I attended his funeral.Last night, I was informed that I am being released from my calling at the 11-year-old scout master. You see, in Mormon troops, you don’t volunteer to be an adult leader in the scout troop, you are asked (“called”) to be an adult leader by the bishop (the presiding authority in your congregation).
It stands to reason that it was time for me to be released. Most people serve in a calling for no more than just a few years and I’d been there for over a decade. As the 11-year-old leader, I was officially an assistant scoutmaster to the scoutmaster of the troop, even though we operated independently of the troop. I know it’s confusing, but it kind of makes sense if you understand how the LDS church is organized. Anyway, I served with 3 different scoutmasters, under 3 different primary presidencies, and two different bishops… and that was only in my current troop, I’ve actually been in two.When I started out as an 11-year-old scout leader, in the summer of 2000, I was scared to death. I had dropped out of scouting as a youth, with only my eagle project left to do. I had no idea what I was doing… but I had good boys. Jordan, Chad, & Craig, they were great! Jordan was so small that when we put a backpack on him for our first hike, we couldn’t get the hip belt small enough to fit his waist. It just hung there… it makes me laugh just to think about it. This week, he became a father… and I can’t tell you how proud I am of him. He has grown into a fine man.
There have been so many boys through the years. So many memories. So much laughter, so much frustration, so many good times… and at least one tragedy. I’ll never forget the morning that I got a call from Norm, a fellow scoutmaster with whom I worked quite a while back, informing me that Clint had passed away from Meningitis while in his freshman year at Weber State. I guess when you work with the youth long enough, something like this is bound to happen, but it didn’t have to happen to one of my boys.I loved being a scoutmaster. I loved every part of it, and it is something that I will miss very dearly… even that dorky uniform.