A Great Time at S-F

I feel like the title of this post is a little repetitive.  Yet, it felt worth stating.  I spent last Saturday afternoon/night at S-F Scout Ranch for the Shawnee Lodge’s Fall Reunion.  I am a big fan of the Order of the Arrow and really missed the Fall Reunion these past five years.  I went down with three of my good friends and I don’t think I could have had a better time at camp.

We were able to see many camp staff friends and I reconnected with a number of adults who I know.  I caught up on some of the goings on that I have missed by not being in St. Louis.  We had our chapter meeting during which time elections were held.  I used to be the New Horizons Chapter Chief – and wow our chapter has come a long way!  I knew some of the people running (many of whom won 🙂 ) and met several others.

We got invited to join a troop for dinner – one of the benefits of having been around and getting know great people.  We walked from the end of the camporee field to the Camp Gamble aquatics area (for those who know, as decent distance) to see a cabin that was built by hand over the summer.  I was pretty impressed.

In the evening I attended a Brotherhood ceremony and got to walk through Camp Famous Eagle to a ceremony site on Nims Lake, one of my favorite places for ceremonies.  The ceremonial team did an amazing job!  I’ve seen a number of Brotherhood Ceremonies since I got the Brotherhood Honor, but this was far and away the best!  After the ceremony, we hung out at S-F for a while and then went to Steak-N-Shake in Farmington with a pretty big group of camp staff/OA guys, before heading back to St. Louis.

To pretty much everyone reading this post all of this probably seems like mundane details.  But it makes me smile.  I really do love S-F.  While things there and in St. Louis Scouting have changed a lot over the past few years, it still feels like home.  In fact, I realized that I had the phone number for S-F in my phone as “work,” appropriate while I worked there.  Now I think I will re-label that as home.

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11:11

It’s 11:11 and it’s time to make a wish.  Here it is: a future of happiness, health, prosperity, love, family, and friendship.

I am in an interesting place in life.  I’ve finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Denver.  Yet, I am still here.  I am here working on a Master of Business Administration degree.  I really enjoy what I am learning.  But it’s different.  Mostly good different, but in some ways, just different in that I miss the way it used to be.  I have to start looking at the rest of life.  Next year no longer implies the classes I will be taking.  Now it means the rest of my life.

My social circles are constantly evolving.  I have recently spent time with both old and new friends in Denver.  I have gotten to know so many people over the past few years that it is sometimes difficult to balance all of my friendship commitments, but I certainly try my best.  I have grown with many great people whose friendship I value strongly and with whom I hope to stay friends for a long time to come.  I have also connected/reconnected with some wonderful people this past year.  I have found people who encourage, challenge, and love me.  I have found people who share and listen and support – relationships in which I certainly reciprocate these activities/feelings.  These are people not only from Denver or the United States, but all over the world.

I also talk with many of my good friends from home (St. Louis) on a regular basis.  People who I grew up with.  People with whom I have relationships and inside jokes that sound outrageous to everyone else.  These are people who I cherish and whose support I have appreciated while not always being physically present.  I am incredibly blessed by the people in my life.

Scouting has been a huge piece of my becoming who I am.  Many of the values and skills I have learned and acquired have been developed through the Scouting program.  My summers at camp led me to some of my best experiences and best friends.  I miss camp.  I miss the experiences, the impact we had, and the friendships we built.  I hope that I can reenergize my involvement with Scouting after graduation that my future children and millions of other youth will have the same amazing experiences that I had.

I work part time on campus and collaborate with students, staff, faculty, and administrators from across campus.  I have been very fortunate in the relationships I have developed over the past five years.  I have learned a lot and grown immensely.  I am understanding the value of individuals and groups and connections between them all.  It has been awkward at times though when I’ve gone out and interacted socially with other students who I have supervised or met staff or faculty “off the clock” – especially when they think I work full time for DU.

My field of diversity/inclusion programming, training, strategy, project management, etc. is incredibly rewarding and at the forefront of social change, while remaining incredibly challenging at times.  I can see the positive impact of my work.  I was once told by a mentor to think about my work, my capabilities, and my opportunities and utilize them in shaping and creating a positive lasting legacy at the university.  I believe that I am being successful at doing that.  Hopefully, others will agree.

In the midst of this I am looking to the future: what are my options for long term employment post-graduation (June 2011)?  I am trying to do everything I can to best utilize all of my resources, network, explore opportunities at every turn.  In this process, I am trying to determine my personal worth (read: what type and quantity of compensation am I seeking) while determining my values and the weight to assign to each of them.  Among the plethora of things I am working to consider are: family, friends from home (St. Louis), friends from Denver, friends from everywhere else, job function, job duties, living location, company culture, long term impact of short term decisions, company/job prestige, opportunities for personal and professional growth, and much more.

I have had conversations recently about how to represent yourself online.  I have professional and personal profiles online, all of which offer accurate depictions of me and my life.  Nevertheless, I am constantly impressed when I find people who can write honestly about their feelings and beliefs without fear of how they might be interpreted or any potential future repercussions.  I’ve tried to be honest in sharing my feelings in this post.  I hope to challenge myself to continue to do so.

So, here’s to the future!  While the future may be uncertain, I can always reflect on where I am, where I came from, where I am going, and the people and experiences that have supported me along the way.  If you are a part of my life, thank you!  I am who I am because of you.  There is so much more to say, but who yet knows what those things will be…

In the meantime, perhaps the following song will offer some insight into this path we call life:

How the time passed away? All the trouble that we gave
And all those days we spent out by the lake
Has it all gone to waste? All the promises we made
One by one they vanish just the same

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

Now it all seems so clear, there’s nothing left to fear
So we made our way by finding what was real
Now the days are so long that summer’s moving on
We reach for something that’s already gone

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

We knew we had to leave this town
But we never knew when and we never knew how
We would end up here the way we are
Yeah we knew we had to leave this town
But we never knew when and we never knew how

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

 

“To Live a Life of Honor” – Why the Boy Scouts Matter

More and more it seems that we all need to be reminded of the importance of integrity, citizenship, and community.  The Boy Scouts of America understands this and embeds it in the lives of its members at a level no other organization can match.  I recently came across the article below and thought it was worth sharing.

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HAGELIN: Scouts’ honor counters culture

by Rebecca Hagelin – The Washington Times

Culture challenge of the week: Raising strong boys in a soft culture

Parenting boys can be tough.

From sexually provocative media, to the influence of bad-boy athletes and self-indulgent celebrities, to violent video games … the cultural undertow exerts a powerful pull in the wrong direction.

When looking for alternatives, parents like Angela and Ty, who both work full-time while raising three boys, feel overwhelmed at times. Angela observes, “Its hard to know whats going to benefit our guys in the long run … and be something they like.” Their vision is to raise boys who will become strong, godly men of character, with inquisitive spirits and service-oriented hearts and the self-discipline and drive to achieve their goals.

Thats no easy task in a culture thats gone soft: entertainment idealizes gender-bending celebrities and devalues strongly masculine traits; the social-media environment fuels teenage narcissism; and schools inflate self-esteem by pouring on unearned praise in the absence of actual achievement.

How to save your family by partnering with the Boy Scouts

So how can we raise strong sons?

As parents, we must set clear direction — and be positive examples. But we also need to find strong partners — organizations, friends and churches — to support our values, provide admirable role models, and to offer friendship and encouragement to our children.

Theres no better organizational partner for parents than the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

A recent Gallup poll found that, while fewer young men are Boy Scouts than in years past, boys involved in scouting have higher academic achievement than non-Scouts. And as adults, former Boy Scouts out-earn their non-scouting peers.

Dig a little deeper, and its not hard to understand why.

According to recent research, Scouts are highly likely to internalize positive character traits like honesty, leadership and dependability. And boys who were Scouts are more likely than non-Scouts to resist negative peer pressure, on the one hand, and to value family life and lifelong friendships, on the other. They learn, as one BSA executive told me, “to live a life of honor.” Those qualities are indispensable not only for career success, but for family life as well.

Why does Scouting work so well? For starters, the Scouts have a hundred-year track record of building character and fitness. Though times change, human nature does not. The Scouts incorporate the latest technologies and current interests into the time-honored merit-badge system; boys learn to try new things, set goals and persevere until they accomplish them.

But the capacity for achievement, by itself, doesnt create better human beings. And heres where theBoy Scouts shine most brightly: its activities explicitly seek to instill character and virtues within the hearts of young men.

Im so grateful to the Boy Scouts for the years of support they gave my own two sons throughout their childhood and teen years. My husband and I first introduced our boys to Scouting when our oldest son was in second grade. The next year, his little brother joined the Scouts, too, and for the next 10 years, our sons lives were filled with adventure, friendship and achievement — and consistent teaching about God and His commandment to serve others.

Our two sons thrived in the Boy Scouts. They found strong role models and lifelong friends, and both of them earned the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. But even had they not decided to pursue the Eagle Scout rank, the years of Scouting would have been a blessing. I will always be grateful for the way Scouting strengthened the values we were working so hard to instill in our sons.

For parents looking for an assist in raising strong young men in a world thats gone soft, check out your local Scouting troop. Your boys will “be prepared … for life.”

• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC.

 

Visiting Camp

Again, this should have been posted a while ago.  I’m trying to catch up now.  Because of that, this post is shorter and perhaps more of an overarching view as opposed to the details I had originally planned on posting.

I visited camp last weekend, June 11-13, and this past Thursday, June 17, night for the Order of the Arrow Call Out Ceremony.  S-F Scout Ranch is truly an amazing place.  I have had so many memories there with so many amazing people (including many of my best friends) that not spending the summer there is definitely a major life change.

It is strange to be at camp and not be in charge of things.  I have worked for the past four summers as the Business Manager at Camp Famous Eagle and one earlier summer as a Nature/Troop Counselor at Camp Gamble (teaching Soil & Water Conservation Merit Badge, among other things).  As Business Manager, I learned the inner workings of the camp and over the years, amassed more knowledge and more responsibility than typically associated with the position.  As such, I have been having nightly conversations with people at camp to both find out how camp is going and offer thoughts/suggestions.  I have spent a lot of time teaching this year’s Business Manager how to do his job, along with referring him to his supervisors for more detail.

It is strange to return to camp without any obligations or responsibility.  I do like the freedom that comes with it.  I even went to Huck’s Cove, the private Scout “water park” on Nims Lake without my cell phone for the first time in four years.  I did not have to be available for any issues – how strange!  Nevertheless, I felt an obligation to help out and a sort of longing to belong and be a part of it all again.  I have certainly been welcomed and have enjoyed spending time with my friends and getting to know the new staff members.

We (can I still say that?  I think so…) have a great staff and I do like many of the first year staffers.  Hopefully, I can impart some of my knowledge upon them and help them in their experiences.  I have helped/trained the staff with check-in and assisted with behind the scene details for the Order of the Arrow ceremony.  I am glad to be a part of the camp, even in a minor way.  It is definitely an internal struggle though to refer issues/questions to other people who should deal with them – especially when I know the right response and they may not yet know.  It is part of the learning/growing process though.

I’ve enjoyed my visits thus far.  I plan to visit again this weekend and then, hopefully, another two weekends throughout the summer.  It is a great “escape” from the city life for me, a chance to visit friends, an opportunity to return “home”.  I do need to balance spending time with friends and family in St. Louis with my time at camp.  I hope that I do this successfully.  Spending time at camp off and on throughout the summer is definitely something I look forward to.  I am excited to see how the summer at Boy Scout camp progresses – and what my friendships look like at the end of the summer.

New Aquatics Structure

Those of us who attended summer camp at the S-F Scout Ranch likely remember the aquatics tower in each camp.  These structures were built to watch for lightning across Nims Lake while providing a storage location for aquatics equipment.  For the camp staff, these structures served as a place to store merit badge cards, change into swim trunks/Scout uniform, and a location for commemorating past aquatics staffs in the form of buddy tags and signing the tower.

As cool as the aquatics towers were, they were falling apart, needing repair, and no longer providing as much space as necessarily.  Several storms have gone through the S-F Scout Ranch in the past year or so and while they created a lot of damage, they did not knock over the aquatics towers – which could easily have been a possibility.  So since insurance wasn’t paying for a change, it had to wait for the capital campaign.  Now, for this summer, new structures have been built.  They include covered pavilions and a lockable storage shed.

Two pictures below are of the just complete structures at Camp Famous Eagle, before summer camp and before the Aquatics Area was fully setup:

New Aquatics Structure at Camp Famous Eagle, S-F Scout Ranch - Credit: Ben Luedloff

New Aquatics Structure at Camp Famous Eagle, S-F Scout Ranch - Credit: Ben Luedloff