Joe and I left early Thursday for the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation. It’s the 10th time I’ve attended Boy Scout camp as a boy or adult, and Joe’s making his fifth trip.
He’s eligible this summer to become a warrior in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. Joe won’t know whether he’s been called until after camp begins, but his hopes are high a member of the tribal council will speak his tribal name at opening night campfire.
To prepare for the called warrior journey, Joe worked before camp preparing his breech cloth, ankle bells, rattle, choker and headdress. I walked down memory lane last week as we unpacked and examined the same items from my fifth summer at Bartle, using them as patterns for Joe’s work.
Mic-O-Say’s consistency over time is the heart of its power. The same lessons that were planted in me at 15 could be sewn this week in Joe, spreading deep roots for the years that follow.
For us, Scouting’s a family affair. My nephew, who’s in the same troop as Joe, is eligible this summer to be called as a brave in the tribe of Mic-O-Say. And his dad, who will attend camp for the first time, could be called as an honorary warrior.
What’s more, my other brother-in-law and his son – who could be eligible next year for a pre-Mic-O-Say call – will attend camp with the troop again in 2011. My father-in-law is spending his fourth summer with the troop at camp, and my dad will visit, too.
Getting ready for our week at Bartle rekindled memories of my early years in the tribe. I remember the anticipation and fear I felt as I heard my name called as a brave, and the slightly more confident but still uncertain feeling I had a year later when I was called as a warrior.
I also remember how proud I felt the first time a member of the tribal council spoke my tribal name. And the sense of accomplishment I felt after becoming a warrior and later receiving Eagle Scout, religious emblem, long trail, coveted and camp scoutmaster coups to wear on my warrior lanyard.
In fact, summer camp at the H. Roe Bartle Reservation – which is unique because of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say – was so important to me as a boy that I marked each year I attended inside my campbox lid. Written in a hand that improved with the passing years, you can still make out 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985. I’ve continued the tradition as an adult and more recently penned 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and – just added Wednesday night – 2011.
We often limit our consideration of philanthropy to things of financial value. In fact, some of life’s greatest gifts are invaluable experiences carried forward from one generation to the next that increase in worth as life unfolds.
I’m proud of my Scouting heritage. Joe, who will soon become an Eagle Scout, will be the first of a third generation of Beems to attain the rank.
I look forward to all Scouting will mean to him and others that follow the great Scouting trail.
I’m also looking forward to another great week at camp.