If you are one of my boys or their families or just one of my readers, I wanted to share a little piece of me that has my heart in a way that I never expected it would. That is, my den family.
If you are one of my boys that have now crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts...
I have a letter for you...
I am very very very proud of each of you - my boys.
The last five years have been a ride....
from the boys being shorter than me, to some growing taller than me!
So, I wanted to share with you why I became your scout leader, what I hope you have walked away with, to my parents, and especially to my assistant leaders.
Me saying I am proud of you is an understatement. To say the least, I am proud of you. Seeing you gives me pride in my heart and a smile on my face.
Why I became your scout leader...
Sometimes we do things without even thinking twice about it. This was definitely one of those moments for me. When I initially became your co leader and then within a year or so became your main leader, it was natural for me to do so. It was definitely not the promised (but so untrue) one hour volunteer hours that lured me in. Promise and cross my heart. (And that is a complete farce as it is by far more than one hour a week even with extra hands on deck to help).
It was something more profound and more deep that led me to lead with my heart first and my mind second. And if I could put that profoundness into words, than it is not as profound as I thought. But truly, the words are escaping my brain of how to explain why I did it. I just knew...
You see, your den leader, has experience in classrooms and with kids. Many years of it. But that was not it either. Although the qualifications would be a easy scapegoat to explain how it was a good fit for me. Still, not necessarily why.
Sometimes we do things as we are lead to do them. No matter what, the volunteer job of being a scout leader is something that I wouldn't have given up on.
Because to me, each of you are unique, special, talented, and full of personality. You have become like family to me. You are like a nephew to me.
That loyalty is incredibly important to me and if I am my ideology, then I must live what I preach. And honestly, loyalty and love of others are like second nature to me. Like it is encoded in my DNA. It just is who I am. (No fibbing there either).
I actually cried when I wrote the email to your parents the night before the crossover because I am so so incredibly proud of each of you. It was amazing to think that all those years you guys worked so hard to achieve rank had finally come and every single one of you that I expected to make Arrow of Light did. That had me amazed with you, your dedication, and your hard work.
That is a great achievement-- you should be very proud of yourself.
Of course, being your leader, in all silliness and seriousness, I wanted to have a real arrow at the arrow of light and that got shot down-- and rightfully so, pretty sure. Ha ha. I even dreamt about having flaming arrows at the Blue and Gold.
Our Blue and Gold, though there were no flaming arrows or not all decked out, was awesome simply because you were there and you did it. You crossed over!
Being the dreamer that I am, who wants flaming arrows at a Blue and Gold, (because that would have been cool), I also have incredibly high dreams and expectations for each and every one of you!
Here are things I hope you have learned:
* Standards for self (and others)
* Trying something new
* What doing your best is
* How to have fun
* To ALWAYS be yourself, even the goofy self
* That jokes, openness, and love are so important
* Standing up for your community is important
* That drawing glasses on your face is cool
* That you can hike to The Viewing Rock at camp
* That jumping off rocks into the creek is cool-- okay, one I learned too
* That I am still learning... and I am learning from you
* I will take on any hot sauce challenge
* That you make doing all the late night scouting stuff worth it for this leader!
* You can change the world
* You are seen
* You are loved (the way you are)
* That I am true to my word, and I will continue to watch you grow up for the next five years with pride and love. And I will always be there as well (to the best of my capability).
To My Parents:
Sometimes, you are one of the unsung heroes of the scouting world. This is a "duh" because without you, the den wouldn't exist. Right? Duh! Some of you volunteered to help with small things, some with big things. Some of you helped with taking a whole den meeting. Some of you shared your scouting experiences (one from around the world) with the scouts. Some of you helped at camp outs. You put your sweat into the den or troop as well. But some of you just drove your kids to and from scouting. YOU made your son's scouting experience a priority for the entire (den) family. I am so appreciative of that. It is one of the things that makes doing what I do so darn worth it!
You as well as the boys, obviously, are my den family. I am thankful for each of you... and who ever brought the hot sauce to the end of the year ceremony-- the boys loved it! LOL #hotsaucechallenge
You always have a friend in me (as Woody from Toy Story would say).
When you write a sentimental letter, Of course, a story to go with it!
We had a boy who was in our den who moved from Takoma Park/DC area to Kentucky a few years ago. When they came back, we got the boys together and it was like they never had left. It was awesome to see. Of course, the boys were taller and wiser, but still it was like they never had left. Every now and then, the mum and I talk. It is nice to hear updates about how they are doing. I ran into the sister, who was a girl scout for whom I was her gold award advisor at a cookie booth this year. She is now out of college and was working in Georgetown and it was like they never left.
Moral of the story is, once den family, always den family!
So always keep in touch and I can't wait to watch our boys grow up together!
When Your Boy Cross Over:
Know that I will take a step back, because part of being a good leader is stepping back and watching them put everything they know into action. And even, that means, allowing the kids to fail gently once in a while, they will do so in a supportive community environment. But promise, I know a lot of the leaders, and they are going into a new and extended troop family. If they don't pack that flashlight, we won't make them go in the dark without a buddy who has one, but they will learn to pack one next time.
Know that it is going to be like Aladdin--- ♪A whole new world ♪... And I am learning the ropes of this new world as well. Don't get discouraged because things will changed and different than what you're used to. It will just take some adjusting.
As I learn and I grow within the troop (and leadership as well), I will of course be there in the best of my capacity for everyone. Even if it is just for a hot sauce challenge.
To My Assistant Leaders:
At a time when I was trying to be a good leader in the midst of a lot of change in my life, like brothers you stepped up and helped in tremendous ways. I think each person who stepped up and became an assistant has scouting experience as well. That was something that was cool to see and to see the dedication from each of us towards our scouts was amazing to see.
I was surprised when you outdid me (of course, you knew it was a given that I was going to gift something special to each of you in appreciation of your dedication, right?) with the surprise of the book and the walking stick. I thought that was very thoughtful. I smile every time I look at them.
What leader doesn't want a walking stick with a compass on top and the signatures of the boys on it AND have it be blessed by deer skulls at the Webelos Weekend Camp out that the boys found? I mean, come on now... LOL
The last five years with you guys has been a journey and I definitely have learned a lot from you guys. I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, everything you have done for everyone in the den and for me. You have been nothing short of amazing-- even if you think you haven't.
You guys always have a little (pun intended) sister in me!
We have the road of boy scouting to venture together (with our sons) and what an adventure it will be to do it together!