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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.


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