When I was growing up I tried Scouting for several years. And although I do have some good memories from that time, it just wasn’t my thing. It didn’t involve some sort of ball and keeping score and therefore just didn’t keep my interest.
But I had two of the best Scout leaders in Dr. Jack Douglas and Dr. William Cutts. Our Scout hut was located on Muriel Street off of Main Street in Canton. The time period would have been in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
I’m not saying I didn’t learn anything because I did. I learned how to tie a few knots, life safety issues, and how to set up a tent and a campsite.
And although I can’t remember all of the other members of my troop, I do remember a few. I remember Tommy Brumbelow, Jimmy Douglas, Kent Howard, Jim Griffin, Creighton Cutts and Walton Davis.
If I am not mistaken, most of those, if not all, went on to become Eagle Scouts. Eagle Scout is the highest honor awarded in Scouting. It is very involved and includes successfully conducting many tasks in addition to performing community service. I tip my hat to all Eagle Scouts.
As for me, my Scouting interest mostly centered around camping and floating the Etowah River.
But the one thing I remember most about my Scouting experience was getting to go up in Dr. Cutts’ hot air balloon. Now, he didn’t exactly takes us for a ride. But he did take us up in the air while the balloon was tied to the ground with ropes. Nevertheless, for a young boy this was a thrill. Dr. Cutts went up often in his balloon in those days. When anyone would see it, many and most would say, “There goes Dr. Cutts.”
We were a small community then and there were few people a resident didn’t know. And if you owned a hot air balloon and flew around town, you stood a good chance of being known by everyone.
When I was in Scouting, it had nothing to do with the schools. Also, as we did have den mothers in Cub Scouts, I don’t remember any females being involved in Boy Scouts. But I do know now that in many troops, family participation is encouraged.
I am not saying that is wrong. It is only different. But it does make me think about how I learned independence in Scouting. Dad was sometimes there but Mom was never there.
I guess it was a guy thing. Having anything limited to one gender is most likely not politically correct in today’s world. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure it is even legal.
So I hope no one finds what I just typed offensive. I don’t mean it to be. But wouldn’t it be ignorant of us to pretend the world hasn’t changed in the last 40 years? And it will continue to change in the next 40.
Scouting is good for the youth of America. It teaches values, morals and the importance of contributing to the community. Many great leaders nationally and locally are Eagle Scouts. I have no doubt that if you asked them, they will tell you that Scouting helped them to be where they are today.
I joined Scouting because that is what my daddy wanted me to do. You see, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout when he was a boy. He has always been an outdoorsman enjoying fishing and hunting. So I feel sure Scouting came naturally to him.
As for me, the highest rank I ever obtained in Scouting was Second Class. That is just one step above the rank of Tenderfoot. For those of you that know nothing about Scouting, that isn’t too impressive. But it wasn’t Daddy’s fault. And it wasn’t Dr. Douglas’ or Dr. Cutts’ fault either. It was my fault.
Dr. Douglas, a veterinarian, and Dr. Cutts, a surgeon, did their part as leaders. But my heart was in sports. They couldn’t fix that.
Any parent wants their children to exceed them in every area. Scouting is only one of many areas that I didn’t measure up. My column doesn’t have room for the comprehensive list.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.