Skip to main content

The Scoutmaster

illustration by Norman Rockwell 1956

A few months ago, Norm's tenure as Scoutmaster ended.  He served the boys for five years.  Today I pay tribute to him, and to the many other men who have served in similar capacities.  

He grew to love the boys in his troop, and so did I.  They spent a lot of Wednesday evenings at our house.  I was willing to support Norm because I believe the following is true:

  "It is better to build boys than to mend men."

This is what my boys looked like five years ago when Norm began serving as Scoutmaster.

The first winter campout where Cade joined them.  Haven't you always wanted to sleep in a tent when there's snow all around?

One of the best things about a campout is the fire and the Scoutmaster minute.  Each camp out he'd spend time telling an inspirational story or lesson, along with goofy, silly stories to entertain the Scouts.  scoutmaster minute ideas

(Quick tip for moms:  when coats or blankets come home smelling like campfire, hang them outside to air out for a few days.  It saves laundry.)

The earlier Scoutmobile, Norm's beloved Blazer.

Norm without a beard, how weird.  Not sure if it's a prerequisite to have facial hair, but why does the Scoutmaster usually not shave?

July 2013 Camp Tifie 

Fishing.  If you kill it, you eat it.

This might be one of my favorite photos ever.

Cool that each boy gets a turn with the merit badge counselor for shotgun shooting.

Summer camp.  Between merit badge sessions, the Scouts loved games like Steal the Bacon (top photo) and Blind Tazers (bottom photo).  Not included is a photo of Norm grossing out the Scouts by eating deer poop (aka Raisinets that he put outside when the Scouts were asleep).

A lot of great men helped to staff and make Scout camp possible.  I won't name them all by name, but at Norm's request is a special mention for Trey Gardner, Tim Park, Tyler White and all of the dads who joined in.  I'm grateful for their time and leadership and for making Norm's burden lighter.  


The Scouts demonstrating their awesome hiking staffs made at camp.

One of the coolest things Norm did during this time was finishing his Woodbadge tickets.  That's a post for a different day, but a great honor and accomplishment.  Woodbadge is a week-long Scout leadership training with extensive work in the following months, to complete five Woodbadge tickets, or projects.  It's the adult equivalent of earning the Eagle scout award.
Arrow of Light: Cub scouts::
Eagle: Boy Scouts::
Woodbadge: Adult leaders.

BYU Powwow is a great way for boys to earn merit badges.  Each spring and fall, the boys gather to work on them together.  The most memorable pow wow for me was a few years ago.  I went into labor at about sunrise on a Saturday morning in March 2015.  The question of the morning was:  Does Norm have time to shuttle a bunch of boys down to campus and then meet me at the hospital?  After about thirty minutes, we decided he needed to delegate that taxi run to a good friend instead.  Our baby girl was born by lunchtime while the boys were still in class.

One of the favorite places to visit is up AF canyon.  The boys have made a lot of memories near Silver Lake flat.  Special thanks to a generous family for sharing their property.  This photo below is gorgeous.

The following are from a combined trip with the 11 year old scouts in Snow Canyon near St George.

The next two are a fun Before and After, at the train tunnel.  It must have been one of the winter camp outs and they thought the tunnel would keep them dry.  But the wind currents kind of sucked the snow inside and by morning they woke to a frosty surprise.

Fast forward a couple of years and our big boy graduated from Norm's troop (12 & 13-years-old) and our younger son joined.  Also featuring the newer Scoutmobile, which earned the Kristy seal of approval for not being so loud or stinky as the Blazer.  Note the power a Scoutmaster's wife has in all areas.

Kodiak winter camp, where the boys built a sled using old skiis.  They worked hard through January, but by the time camp rolled around most of the snow had melted.  That weekend they got some fresh powder just in time for some serious sledding on their homemade sled.

They visited the private side of the Salt Lake airport thanks to a ward member's connections.

And backpacked to Wall Lake, which was gorgeous.

And then we blinked, and all of a sudden five years had flown by.  Saying goodbye to this calling was bittersweet.  Norm and I couldn't decide whether we were thrilled or sad.  Thrilled for him to have an easy job at church (teaching Sunday school lessons twice a month) but sad to see the end of an era.  Just weeks after Norm was released as Scoutmaster, we held Cade's Eagle Scout court of honor.

This last photo is from Norm's first camp out with the Scouts, just as a dad.  Thanks to the new Scoutmaster for carrying Troop 1288 forward.  He's doing a great job already.

P.S. Note from Norm: A Scoutmaster doesn't work alone.  In addition to the assistant Scoutmasters, the Scoutmaster's family is a huge part of the job.  A very special thank you to Kristy for all the nights she took care of everything at home while I was gone, the summer vacations she sacrificed, the gas money she was okay with spending on the Scouts, the smokey clothes, the tents drying out in our basement, and on and on.  My kids all pitched in and helped, too - either the boys helping me load or unload after a camp out, the girls putting up with my gear in the living room - you name it, my family tolerated it.  I'm lucky in many ways, and having had the chance to serve and spend this time with the Scouts with a wonderfully supportive family is among my favorite blessings.


Popular posts from this blog

Be There at the Crossroads

  Last week I was looking through an old box, searching for letters that Norm and I wrote to each other before we got married. I didn't find the letters but instead found an old journal from 1987. Look below and see my handwriting when I was a ten year old girl living in San Diego. We’d just moved there from Grand Junction, and I talked about missing our cat, about making new friends, going to Disneyland with my dad and my brother. It was really fun to read through this old journal. I'm glad I wrote that stuff down!  In the middle of these memories from 1987, I was also searching for a quote about mothers and their great influence on their kids. And the quote was something like “be there at the crossroads” when your children are coming and going. Turns out that the quote I was searching for also came from the late 80's. A brilliant church leader and prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson, talked to the women and spent time encouraging and reminding us why motherhood is impor

2021 Christmas Card

December 2021  Dear Friends and Family, We love you and and miss y'all that are far away in WA and UT and other places!! This year we skipped our tradition of sending a Thanksgiving card and opted for a virtual Christmas card instead. It saved a ton of stamps and envelopes, but I definitely miss the glitter and sparkle. We hope you can feel our love even through a simple email or blog post. One tradition we couldn't skip was our gratitude tree, where the little leaves are a list of blessings. We are so thankful for God's goodness and mercy every day. Here's the highlight reel:  Cade graduated, made lots of Domino's pizza, read probably a thousand books, and is currently living in Provo, UT as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's heading to Helsinki, Finland in January. We are so proud of him and his hard work, we miss him but are excited for his opportunity to learn and serve. Shad spent a zillion hours with Marcus Ban

Golden Anniversary

My parents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. CONGRATULATIONS! Fifty years. An anniversary like this is remarkable for a few reasons: to stay together that long, to both be alive and well, and to still like each other after all these years. Let's take a quick trip down memory lane first.  My mom and dad met at a college dance.  When my dad proposed, he was working at a ski area, and she was skiing that day. My dad taught me to ski when I was a girl, and he taught me to love the mountains. My mom taught me to love the ocean. Marriage is a funny thing. In our culture we make a big deal about the wedding and plan expensive parties and receptions. But the real work begins AFTER the ceremony. Anytime my father-in-law talks about attending a "Wedding Deception," I have to laugh and cringe at his dry wit. I learned many great life lessons from my parents through the years. My mom taught me to serve, saying, "You love the people you serve."

Hair and random thoughts from a Brunette

Recently I've thought quite seriously about doing this to my hair. It might be so fun to have purple/blue highlights! I never dyed my hair in high school or college. Then when I was 37 the first few grey hairs appeared, ironically enough while I was pregnant. I've spent the last handful of years adding lots of blonde highlights.  Now my hair has a respectable amount of silver. It's kind of annoying. I'm learning to say farewell to being a brunette, because that young girl with the dark hair has grown up. Last month for Christmas, one of my favorite gifts that I GAVE to my little daughter was kinda fun. I spent like 20+ minutes at Target deliberating on which Barbies to buy. Finally I chose this group of friends for their amazing variety in hair!!  And I love each for different reasons. The dogwalking blonde is fun because my daughter really wishes we had a dog. The other three have accessories to be an astronomer, a teacher, etc. Ultimately, each Barbie is different fro


"How are you feeling about your son leaving soon?" has been my favorite question lately. My answer is kinda mixed. During July and August I was surprised and excited. Then on September 14 he flew to and from San Francisco by himself for a day. The purpose was a quick visit to the Finnish consulate for a visa. He had fantastic instructions to get from the airport to the BART to the consulate, but waiting for the interview took longer than planned. Leaving the consulate he had less than an hour until his flight was supposed to take off. That included a 32 minute tram ride, printing a boarding pass, airport security, etc. In all honesty, he should have missed that flight home. But he didn't. Call it a miracle or a test of faith, or whatever you want to call it. But for my boy who loves to be punctual, boarding a flight 7 minutes before take-off was pretty intense. Long story short, I think we all realized a few things that day. There are so.many.details I can't control,

The Invisible Woman

Today I'm thinking about my mom. She spent a lot of years building and serving and lifting. She poured love and time and energy into her children, in a never-ending pattern. She did a hundred things that we still haven't noticed. I wonder if there's a coming of age that happens for a young mom, when she begins to realize how much work it is to BE a mom. Then maybe about two dozen years into this parenting thing, she begins to see  more stuff she missed. Then another realization comes when her oldest is almost grown. I'm still learning to see my mom and appreciate her as a person. But how can you see somebody who's been invisible? This morning I was talking with a good friend, another mom like me. She's younger and in a different season of mothering, yet we both can relate to sometimes feeling lonely. Sometimes we need evidence of progress, or at least a friendly word from a girlfriend. Maybe sometimes we just need somebody to notice and say thanks. Years ago I h

How Controlling Are You?

Life is like Mario Kart. In the early levels, you're driving through Moo Moo Meadows and the grass is green and there's cows and fields and it's lovely. There's an occasional banana peel that gets tossed in the path, and sometimes the cows walk in the road so you try not to hit them. But overall the driving is pretty mellow.  Then later after you've unlocked other levels, there's stuff like Bowser's Castle. It's a maze with lava on both sides of the path, there's fire and brimstone all around, there's stone columns that try to smash you at random intervals. Just to know where to go and how to steer and stay on the path is complicated. Some stages of life are like Moo Moo Meadows. The details are easy-peasy and you just keep moving right along. And then there are years like Bowser's Castle where it's pretty intense and you pray a lot because the fire around you is pretty hot and you're trying not to fall in the lava pit.  During years

Companions - Notes on Home MTC

November 18, 2021 Most people know that missionaries run around in pairs. Some of my neighbors have seen this version of a companionship lately. Let me explain. During Covid, the church did a pivot and changed the missionary training experience from in-person to virtual. During this process they realized there were a few cool benefits that were worth continuing even after the pandemic. So the new version of missionary training begins  at home  with an Elder or Sister doing full-time training with a companion online. Then they transition to  in person  after a few weeks.  My oldest son began on November 8 with training at home. When they are in class or working together, they are meeting and making friends with other missionaries in their district. My son's cohort has four young women and four other young men, for a total of nine kids all going to Finland in January. BUT when they're not actively working or studying together,  I'm his companion . All of the places I'd no

Twenty + One Month

You know how life gets kinda messy sometimes? My version of messy looks like this: Four kids including a teenager learning to drive; a kindergartner learning to get herself ready in the morning; a senior learning about adulting; a middle schooler learning to ride her bike to electives every other day, a mortgage husband's career VIRTUAL PLUS church service pandemic, civil unrest, election year my own personal need for friends and connection even when my schedule looks like a revolving door Our big anniversary was last month and we were lucky enough to celebrate together this past weekend. We managed to sneak away for 24 hours. First I need to give credit where credit is due. There was a very generous friend who volunteered to parent the children during our 'Nelson marriage offsite.' And there was a generous benefactor who donated Marriott points to spring for the fancy room. I won't mention either party by name, but thanks to their generosity we had a great time. I'

It doesn't matter where you live, but how...

Thoughts on Houses This is my first post from Texas.  The blog lives on.  August was a whirlwind, September we started settling in, and now it's October.  Most of the boxes are unpacked.  Just last week I found the box that had cookbooks in it, and that makes me pretty happy.  I still haven't made whole wheat bread or cookies since we got here, but maybe I'll do that soon. We spent a lot of time this summer thinking about houses, getting ready to sell our house in Traverse Mountain (in Lehi, on the northern edge of Utah County), and brainstorming on what we'd need in a house in Texas. On the way to Texas, we drove south through Colorado and spent the night at Mesa Verde.  We found the Far View Lodge inside the park and stayed up high on the mesa.  The night sky was pitch black away from the city lights, and the weather was at least ten degrees cooler up high.  I loved it.  The next morning we learned a lot about the Native Americans who lived there.  A man ga