The pack meetings were the most regular part of scouting for me, because they meant that I got to see my scout friends every week. I was in the same pack as my best friend, and he didn’t go to my school. So even though we had scouting at my school too, I didn’t attend the meetings that were at my school. I liked being in a different pack. It gave me a chance to make friends both in and out of school.
The meetings were something I can only describe as organized chaos. When you get 30 elementary school aged boys in a room together, it’s going to be loud. It’s going to get pretty silly sometimes. The adults who led us really must have loved kids, and had a passion for what they were doing, and it showed. I’m grateful for them every day. They really helped make me the man I am today. I’m not sure if I would have my crawl space encapsulation business if I had not learned the leadership and tenacity that I did in Scouting. And none of that would have been possible without the leaders.
Sometimes we would get to make something at the meetings. I remember one week we each got to make our own small toolbox out of wood. Sometimes we would make neckerchief slides, or a keychain for our parents. During other meetings we would work toward certain merit badges or requirements. Sometimes we would play a sport. Sometimes we would practice cooking over a campfire – with plenty of supervision of course! About once a year, we all got to practice whittling and learn about knife safety. Every year it seemed like there was a kid who would hurt himself and nearly ruin it for everyone, but one year, I was that kid! I was applying too much pressure and my hand slipped. Thankfully I didn’t get cut very deep, and of course there were always adults nearby, so one of the pack leaders came to my rescue very quickly. I learned more on that day about knife safety, than I did in any other year of “doing everything right.” Sometimes it’s just as important to know “what not to do”!
During every meeting we had a flag raising and flag lowering ceremony. They would always let us take turns for who was going to help out and carry the flags. I always felt extra special and proud when it was my turn.
Sometimes our meetings would include a special awards ceremony. Our parents would be invited, and there would be cookies and lemonade and other treats for us afterwards. Each scout who had earned any merit badges or rank advancements in the previous couple of months would have a chance to be recognized. We always had to wear our best uniforms and sit quietly, and if you hadn’t earned any awards that time, it could honestly get kind of boring. But if you WERE expecting an award, it was really cool. My heart would always race when they called my name, and my palms would usually be sweating. I felt so proud, but also nervous.The ceremony made me want to make sure to do everything perfectly!
The meetings were really the foundation of our scouting experience, and it was tons of fun to attend a meeting every week. Scouting isn’t all camp outs and excursions. Even the day to day life of a scout can be a fantastic time.