There are moments within any event, outing or setting that can and do happen. You are not always ready for them, but they appear and leave a lasting impression upon you. There were many of these types of moments, however I will only recount a few.
During our first day which was at Disneyland and California Adventure, the Troop met many people who were very positive towards not just us as a Boy Scout Troop, but as Scouts in general. Many Cast Members gave the Scout Sign or Salute and shook our hands. We would be passing by or getting on or off a ride. I would return their Scout Sign, Salute and handshake.
Some of these people would come up to me and personally thank me for helping shape the character of the boys. They would explain that they only in Cub scouts, or made just 2nd Class, Life or Eagle. Several explained that they were in the Order of the Arrow. One young man I found out was a OA Trek Guide at The Summit in 2013 and now just elected Crew President. I asked if he knew Nick Dannemiller. Of which, I told him that we are from his home Council. We talked a lot about the OA, Trek Guides and what he was doing. I ended up giving him a Cascade Pacific Council CSP and a Pioneer District patch.
I had several Old Eagle Scouts come up and explain how Scouts changed them. How important it was that they were in Scouting. They told me to keep doing what I was doing. They were filled with pride on their achievements and talking to someone about it. They were happy that we were there and having fun.
Myself and the Scoutmaster did explain several times that while we are at Disneyland that there is a “Game with a Purpose”. Once we explained it, they understood it.
Some of the great moments were when kids who were in Cub scouts came up to us and shook our hands. We encouraged them to keep going and earn their Arrow of Light so they could become a Boy Scout soon. Giving them the Cubscout Handshake and telling them to Do their Best made them smile.
One young man before we left Knotts Berry Farm on the last day, who I believe worked there came up to all of us and explained that he had just completed his Eagle Board of Review and passed. We congratulated him. Our Scoutmaster is the only Eagle that was on the Trip, so he took great pride in congratulating him and all the others he met.
I also have two great talks with two separate Council Board Members of the Greater Los Angeles Council and the Orange County Council. Both had great stories. One of them asked a lot of questions of CPCBSA and our Scout Executive. He was amazed that we were all in Disney and that it was a tradition for us. His wife grilled us and told us about that we all had to go to Fish Kill Camp at Philmont. She was a hoot! Our second Board Member repeated how it was good that we were that involved with Scouting. Again, heard a few stories. He returned for a moment and asked me what Critter I was since he saw my Wood Badge Beads. He told me he was an Owl, and I said that I was sorry about that since I am a Beaver. He and I had a really good chuckle over that. Swapped a few Wood Badge stories….;)
I think that the finest magical moment was after the Flag Retreat at Disneyland Main Street. It is about 30 or so minutes for the whole event. Singing of the National Anthem and many other patriotic songs. At the end, we all same America the Beautiful. This has been going on for 25 years. During which, the Disney Security Force would be the Color Guard. As the Disneyland Marching Band would play, the US Flag and California State Flag would be lowered. However before that. Retired USMC Gunnery Sargent Ernie Napper would is the best Sargent voice ever, explain why we where there, who they were honoring and thanking us for being at Disneyland. At which the Disneyland Marching Band would play the Army song, USMC song, Navy song, USAF song and USCG song. At which the Veterans of each branch would stand up and circle the flag pole. Best ever retirement I have seen.
After which, I told the Scouts that were there and the Scoutmaster that I wanted to say thank to Ernie. As we approached, he was taking photos with other people. When he saw us, he turned and pronounced that he wanted to take his photo with the Scouts, the Scoutmaster and myself. He gave the US Flag to the Scouts to hold and shook our hands. It was the most solid handshake I have ever had in my life. Ernie spoke to the Scouts directly. He thanked both the Scoutmaster and myself for doing our job to Scouting.
I came away from this whole experience of being thanked for being in Scouting a lot more humble and appreciative of what I do. Granted I get thanked by many people within the District, Council and other places within Cascade Pacific for the work that I do. I take it to heart too. However, being outside of Cascade Pacific, out in public and representing not just T150, Pioneer District, Cascade Pacific but Scouting as a whole and getting thanked for helping Scouts. That got me.
Being a Volunteer within Scouting means a lot more than it did before this Trip. Affecting and changing lives of the youth….now, that is Magical. Next up…..Getting called out.