On Monday night, the Cub Scout pack of which I have been Cubmaster for the past four years held its annual Blue and Gold banquet. We’re a large pack, and when all the families get together it’s about 200 people.
This was my last meeting with the pack, as my son has grown and is now too old. He can now enter the Boy Scouts.
Since it was the last time I had a chance to address all the families at once, I took the opportunity to say a few words. Here they are.
As I retire tonight, I’m glad to know that Pack 928 is thriving.
When our family joined Pack 928 back in 2005, there were 32 boys. Just a few years before, the Pack had considered closing up shop. Today there are 55 boys and you can see that we are near capacity in this very large room. When we go family camping there are 120 people and more. Almost every den is full.
How did this happen? I believe it happened because of all the parents who have stepped forward in leadership of the Pack. The only way we can keep going is if people pitch in. And the more people participate, the stronger the Pack becomes.
I got involved in leadership with this Pack not because I stepped forward but because I was pushed. I was terrified when they asked me. But being a part of the leadership of this Pack has been one of the most fulfilling parts of my life for the past few years.
Very soon after I became Cubmaster, Cindy Griffiths became Committee Chair. Cindy is better organized than me and has a far better memory. Her work is what really makes the Pack run. Her good example has kept pushing me.
Some days, I could not have gotten up if it had not been for my wife Andrea Jarrell, who has had faith in me. That faith has kept pushing me.
After each Pack meeting, I drive home with my son Daniel. I can tell he’s proud of his dad. That pride has kept pushing me.
Those pushes have kept me going. Left to my own devices, I might have never been here.
There’s another thing that has kept me going too.
You may remember that last year we had a parents’ pinewood derby. My car did not do very well. I was disappointed and it showed on my face. One boy came up to me and said “It’s hard to hide your tears, isn’t it?” This boy had lost a race just a few minutes before and it had been hard on him. Now, here he was, reaching out to me out of compassion, trying to help me out. He wasn’t thinking about himself.
That episode has had me thinking ever since.
We like to talk about how prepared Scouting can make boys — and it does. We like to talk about how much fun it can be — and it is. But in the end, Scouting is about making boys into the best people they can possibly be.
So, I think of how I have watched so many boys grow in Scouting. How I have seen so many boys learn to do things they were initially scared of. I think of the older boys who are beginning to learn to be leaders, helping out the younger boys. I think of the boys who are learning how to take a deep breath and plan instead of rush forward. I think of the younger boys, who are just learning to wear their uniforms and sit still.
I think of my son Daniel, and how he has grown so well.
These boys are why we are all here.
So, boys, I want to thank every one of you. You may not realize it, but every time you learn something, we adults grow a little too.
I am going to miss this Pack but I know you are in good hands with Cindy Griffiths and my successor Michael Mangum.
But most of all, the Pack is in good hands because you boys keep growing.
I am so very proud of you.