After the story on the Klondike Derby ran I received a letter from Mr. Dick Clark. Dick is 71 now but he is plenty sharp on his youthful scouting activities and adventures. Dick recounted many of his stories with Troop 29 in Bantam, Connecticut. The Scouts had access to a cabin and five acres on wildlife management land that they made good use of and brought many memories back along with them.‑
As I read Dick’s letter several times (my first fan mail ever!) I couldn’t help but think that as much as things change – they still remain the same.
Our tents are composite now and only weigh a fraction of what those canvas tents did. We teach and use outdoor campfire cooking, but we also use newer Coleman type units for convenience. We teach astronomy along with night navigation and we watch the stars at night. But I doubt that Dick was able to spot any satellites as we sometimes do. Of course the knots have changed very little and, especially with more Scouts, safety remains the top priority.
Of course the true core values have not changed a bit. The Scout Oath and Law are still the same and they still reinforce the values that you would like for your neighbor to have.
The Boy Scouts still try and do things according to the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We maintain a high profile at parades and community service projects. We meet weekly for fellowship, advancement, and fun. We try and camp out every month or two. And we are always at Camp Chief Little Turtle for a week of summer fun, but that certainly does not cover everything.
Mr. Clark – I like to think that we are helping young men both learn valuable skills, independence, and build fond memories such as you related in your letter. It really would not surprise me if there was a unit right now that has a Spring Campout scheduled at “Smokey Den” for this springtime. If they all made it across that rickety wooden bridge, that is.
As a Scout Leader, I can tell you that many great folks are working hard to provide the types of skills, character, and memories that our current scouts may take through life with them. Our world will be a better place if more of our youth have the chance to experience the Scouting Program and build those memories, friendships, and values.
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