Well, by now most of you know that I had an opportunity to relocate to Maine. You also probably know it didn't work out. It wasn't work; it was the home front. Without baring my soul too much....Mrs. TriSec and I faced a true marital crisis over this one. We've been through many things together, but for the first time, the thought of leaving did cross my mind.
We're over the hump now, after a few tumultuous weeks...and there's a reason I was able to pull myself back together. In times of need, we all go back to that rock, that one thing we've always turned to in a time of need.
You probably know that I've been a Scout and Scouter since I was 8 years old. 2008, in fact, is my 20th year as a registered adult leader with the Boy Scouts of America.
Disparate things? Maybe. Or Maybe not.
When I was in eighth grade, my parents divorced. My father broke the news to me on the one and only canoe trip I went on as a scout...I never forgot it. Somewhere out on the Saco river, my world came crashing down around me. But I had that anchor, that one constant. Mrs. TriSec chides me over not being home on Tuesday nights. It's true...for over 20 years of my life, Tuesday was a scout night.
I am eternally thankful that I had such a man as "J.V" [name redacted] as my scoutmaster. When I needed someone who would be there to support me, without judgement, and encourage me to believe in myself and reach for the stars....he was there. In fact, to this day, when I am asked to list personal references on a resume...I always include "Mr. V." of Saugus, MA.
So....I went for days in a tailspin, moping about, sorry for myself, mad at the world, mad at my wife, wondering if everything we've done and suffered through was for naught. Until that first Friday, when I had to put on the brave face and lead a Pack meeting. Well, I have to tell you, for those two hours that week, I was the man.
All the parents looking to me for leadership, all the kids looking for encouragement and praise...and I got through.
But it wasn't until this past weekend that it really came home for me.
On April 26, I attended the Nationally-mandated "Baloo" (Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation) training down at Camp Sayre in Milton. Council now requires all trip leaders to have the piece of paper, and experience counts for nothing, so I had a rather pleasant afternoon snoozing and schmoozing through the class.
Over lunch, I was talking to two of our pack parents that came down for the training. One is a single mother, whose son is a quiet, shy boy...and she was looking forward to my taking over their den next season, as I'm going to be the Bear Den Leader. She was eternally thankful that I would do this...and she repeatedly said she was hopeful that having a male influence for her son would be beneficial. The other parent was equally grateful, and although I'm leaving her den to shift to the Bears, she too told me of the transformation she saw in her son from the same quiet shy boy into someone more outgoing, more confident in himself, indeed someone on the verge of his teenage years and looking a bit more like a man than a boy.
I was awed. That's a tremendous responsibility. When I became Cubmaster, I told myself that if I'm even 1/4 as good as the men that taught me, then I'll call it a job well done. Yet here I was...these mothers were looking to me to transform their sons...these boys were already showing the benefit of being under the care of all us dedicated volunteers in Cub Scout Pack 250...and it struck me. Some say that everything happens for a reason.
Is it perhaps my mission in life to be here for these boys, at a critical time in their lives, and be that one person who makes a difference? It may be arrogant of me...but I like to think so.
Twelve years ago, I became a Vigil member in the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's honor society. According to many, it's the second-highest honor you can earn as a scout or scouter (second only to Eagle.). Perhaps it is even more so, as this award can't be consciously earned...you're selected for the honor by your peers, based on your selfless service to Scouting and the Cause. When I was so honoured, I became just the second member of Boy Scout Troop 61 so recognized. Who was the first? Why none other than "Mr. V." himself.
When I was first elected to the Lodge in 1989, I swore an oath that over time has become my personal mission statement. It's my only hope that I can continue to live up to those high ideals...and make sure that I fulfill my true calling in life...service to others.
And so, with that in mind, I'm posting this for all of you to ponder, and I'm off to beautiful Camp Massasoit
in Plymouth, MA to lead the pack through the "Webelos Woods" council camporee. I'll see everyone tomorrow afternoon!