Friday, August 12, 2005

On my honor

As a Boy Scout one of my greatest thrills was the Order of the Arrow induction exercise at Camp Massawepie in the Adirondack Mountains.

The exciting part of the induction was the “ordeal.” The Scout leaders took the new Arrowmen on a hike and a night of camping out before returning to base camp. After hiking all morning we came to Mount Arab which took a couple of hours to climb. After setting up our tents and making the cooking fires, I was one of the scouts who cooked the evening meal. Simple food never tasted so good.

That night the leaders told us scary stories while we roasted marshmallows. When we awoke the next morning the clouds were below us as we cooked and ate breakfast. Bacon and eggs and biscuits …… mmmmm good. We finished every scrap of food. When the clouds cleared away the sight below us was breathtaking.

After dousing and burying the fires, we cleaned up camp and climbed down the mountain. On the way back to Massawepie the “ordeal” commenced. We got “lost.”

The scout leaders stopped the hike, began looking at their maps and announced that they didn't know what way to go. After some discussion we decided on a direction and took off. Nothing looked familiar and after a few hours we realized that we were really, truly lost. And very hungry!

That’s when we learned our first lesson. Don’t eat all the food before your destination is in sight. And don’t drink all the water either. The rest of that day, that night and half of the next day we learned many lessons in self reliance, including how to eat bushes and the bark off certain trees.

Finally back at camp after the ordeal we were treated to an ordeal ceremony, a Brotherhood questioning, and an Order of the Arrow Brotherhood ceremony. Our pledge: “We as Arrowmen have the great privilege of pointing the way to other people. It’s the way to happiness in life. It’s the way of cheerful service.”

I’ll never forget that experience.

Last month four Boy Scout leaders were struck fatally by lightning at the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Virginia. President Bush called these men “models of good citizenship.” Scout leaders are special people. They invest a prodigious amount of time, effort and talent in helping young men develop character. The most important component of character is honor.

A Scout pledges, "On my honor, I will do my best." Honorable people do what is right not because they fear the consequences of wrongdoing but because doing the right thing is the right thing to do. (Jack Kelbe, Daily Breeze, 8/11/05).

I can no longer remember the names of my Boy Scout leaders, but I’ll never forget what they did for me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post, Bill. (two thumbs up).

My guess is those ACLU knuckleheads were never scouts.

Honor is not a word in their vocabulary.

David (SpinDr)

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“… to do my best, to God and my country.” , is the way that I remember it. That last part is what drives our friends on the left crazy. The notion that you have a duty to both of those entities is just too much for some folks.

I loved the Order of the Arrow. I thought it was so cool. I was part of the weekly induction ceremonies at Camp Wolverton in Sequoia National Park in the early ‘60s. Those were the days.


8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,
Your blog inspired me to send you my "what I did this weekend" pictures. We went hiking up in Mammoth. One of the memorable hikes was through "The Hole in the Wall". This is a place I had heard about that skiers went through when there was snow - so we decided to check it out in the summer to see what it would be like. Suffice it to say, I will NOT be skiing it next season. We took the gondola up to the top of the mountain (which runs in the summer for the mountain bikers) then hiked across Dragon Back to this area, where in the first picture you'll see the descent to the Hole. The next picture you'll see what lies below it. We ended up at the lake. It was a little scary going through because it was mostly loose scree, but now that it's over it seems fun.

Don't you think I'm a good girl scout??? :)


8:27 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...


Did you get "lost" like we were? If not, then we need to go into the woods so you can complete your induction.


4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I spent the better part of my adolescence lost. Does that count?


4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, I remember the Jewish girls camp across the lake. Oh, well, we all have different memories of Massawepie, sigh.


4:22 PM  
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