My journey stated like yours, and thousands of other scout volunteers. My son came to me fresh out of kindergarten jumping up and down begging, “Please, please, please can we go?” So, we went to the rally at Zach White Elementary school in El Paso, Texas. We, as parents, easily saw the benefit of the Scouting program, yet like all new comers, we had no idea what we signed up for. The cubmaster counted out the eight energetic Tiger’s, then dropped the bomb. “Tell me, who is going to be the leader of this group?” I am almost sure the other seven parents took one huge step backwards, leaving me standing alone.
Truthfully, the thought of leading the den excited me, despite the busy schedule I kept as a financial advisor. I did my best during that first year, but I felt I could do better. That is when I heard about Woodbade. Knowing nothing about the program, other than it was training for leaders, I jumped on it. I spent two weekends in Camp Wehinahpay in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. The program inspired me so much. As I drove down from the mountains toward home, I called my wife and told her that even if my son quit scouting, I wouldn’t. Fast forward three years later, we moved to San Antonio. I still remember the day I put in an application to the Alamo Area Council because I found my work constantly got in the way of my scouting! This step set forth my new journey…as a paid professional with the Alamo Area Council.
Today, my son is a life scout, just three merit badges away from Eagle. I have the pleasure of experiencing Philmont with him this summer while we take a 10-day trek through Northern New Mexico. I watched him over the years as he took on leadership roles, made friends, at times got frustrated, and ultimately, learned by doing. But, I didn’t expect his journey to impact mine. Like my son, I’ve made lifelong friends, and grown into leadership roles I never considered before. I’ve learned – and continue to learn – how to deal with my frustrations.
The best part? I did it all with my son at my side.