I got a Cub scout uniform and book for my 8th birthday. It was a dark blue shirt and shorts with a yellow and blue hat. The hat had a Wolf emblem in the middle, and there was an American flag on the sleeve. My mom sewed the council and unit patches on and I was off and running towards earning the Bobcat award.
Some of the most significant events of my childhood included stitches. Some of those stitches were on my lips from crashing a bike, but most of them were on my uniforms. Every patch represented an activity that helped me grow.
Since I was eight, I’ve been in Scouting. The only exception was the two years I was in the Ukraine as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That experience earned the Russian translator strip that is now on my uniform.
As a scout I had many leadership opportunities. I served as a Patrol Leader and as a Senior Patrol Leader. When I was 15 I was the Jr. Assistant Scoutmaster, and planned most of our outings for the twenty boys in our four patrols. I learned to work with wood, how to shoot, and how to sail through scouting. I earned the Arrow of Light, Eagle Scout with a bronze palm, and youth religious emblem as a boy. More importantly, I learned to love the outdoors, nature, and our Creator.
I played baseball from Little League to High School. I was planning on playing in college when I returned home from my mission, but was asked to serve as a Scoutmaster instead. As I completed a Bachelors of Science in Animal science, I continued with scouting. I served as an 11-year-old scout leader, scoutmaster, assistant varsity coach, and am currently in my third year as a Cubmaster, with a son finishing up his Arrow of Light, and another son entering Cubs this year. While I was scoutmaster, we completed hikes to Ben Lomond peak(14 miles round trip), Lewis peak (10 miles round trip), Francis Peak (0.5 miles round trip), and Mt. Ogden’s west face (10 miles round trip while gaining a mile in elevation). We earned the local “peaker” award. We completed high adventure camps, backpacking several miles into the Wind Rivers in Wyoming to fish and collect insects for the insect study merit badge. Our Varsity scouts hiked into Havasupai Indian reservation (over 20 miles round trip). They visited Hoover dam and swam in the waterfalls in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. With some of my scouts, we completed the requirements for the year-round scouter award, and attended most of the annual Klondike winter camp outs. My scouts have had the opportunity to visit ghost towns, lake fish, ice fish, boat, camp, and hike. It has been a great experience.
In 2002, when we moved into Trapper Trails council, I organized an annual egg-lofting competition for our Unit. At our annual father-sons camp out, many (usually 18-20) boys and their fathers compete and build model rockets. The rockets launch a fresh chicken egg hundreds of feet in the air. The winner is the team with the longest hang time without cracking the egg. Nothing brings a smile like an egg floating under a well-deployed parachute. We are planning the 9th annual event this year. It has become a fun tradition that the boys look forward to every spring. Several boys have earned the Space Exploration merit badge through this event.
I am a lifetime scouter. As an adult I earned the adult religious emblem and am finishing the Cubmaster award this summer.
Several of my scouts earned their Eagle awards. Several are now serving as missionaries. I expect great things from them.
It’s many years later. The patches my mom sewed on my first uniform are now on a patch display, along with all the other patches I earned throughout the years. I don’t ride a bike any more, but I still need stitches from time to time. The best ones are still in the patches. There is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in those stitches.