Written by Steve Stobbs, story of an experience at Stearns Webelos Camp.
In December 2004, I had the pleasure of being able to attend the Viking Council Friends of Scouting Kickoff. This is the meeting at which everyone involved with the 2005 fundraising efforts can come together and be inspired to get out there and raise truckloads of money to support Boy Scouting in our council. It is a pretty cool meeting, and I always enjoy going, but I am seldom surprised by the motivational words of the speakers. I know that we work on developing character, we talk about making a difference, we talk about making a better future, but we almost always use the same kinds of stories and the same words when we talk about it. This is off base a little, let me get back to what I started to say. To get back on track, let me tell you that one volunteer stood up at this meeting and said something which had everyone sitting on the edge of their seat.
At this meeting, the Council Vice President for Finance stood up and introduced himself. Mike LeJeune is the CEO of FabCon. Over the years, he has been helping us raise money in our communities, leading the fundraising campaign, and has been a great ally of our efforts. He was talking about his family's involvement with Scouting, his son's rise through the years of Cub Scouting, and how he always knew it was a good program. Then he said that he never realized how good it (Scouting) was until one year he got to go with his son to Webelos Camp. His face really lit up as he started to talk about the boys walking around camp, shooting bb guns and archery, learning to tie knots, learning to build fires, swimming, et cetera. He said "This is kid heaven." He was talking about how much it has meant for his son to be able to be outside with his friends and doing all this stuff that we do every day at Webelos Camp. He talked about how rare this is in our society, and how good it has been for his son and his friends to be in "kid heaven" while at the same time being surrounded by this Scouting program, teaching the boys to be good citizens, appreciate physical fitness, and develop good character to last their lifetimes.
He talked about some other stuff, too, but this is the part that really struck me. Here is a really powerful guy, turning into a little kid again before our very eyes, while talking about stuff that we do with boys every day at camp. We take this for granted as we go about our day to day business of operating the program, worrying about how the evaluations are going to come out, where we are going to find dry firewood for the demo, and all kinds of other things. It never really occurs to us that the things we are teaching, leading, and talking about, are the absolute coolest things for boys that age to be doing. They spend three or four days with us, and then talk about it for months. The parents and leaders standing behind them as you show them how to do something are in awe of your skill, your knowledge, your magical charisma.
As an alum (alumnus/alumna), you have been a part of making this magic. You have been providing kid heaven for years. It has affected more than just this one guy and his kid. Imagine how many lives you have touched during your time at camp. Imagine how many moments you have created. These are lifetime memories. This is long-term magic.
Thanks for your time, and your efforts, as a staff member at Stearns Webelos Camp. Thanks for your help in continuing to support our efforts in the future. Thanks for helping make kid heaven a reality.