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Sunday, January 23, 2005 

I Was Never Really Into Scouts

I was never really into scouts …

OK, so that was a lie. I was very much into scouts until I was about 15. For this post, I looked all over for the picture of me in my full Boy Scout uniform (that’s not the whole thing, you ask?). The full uniform included a Smokey the Bear style hat (or optional beret) and a walking stick with feathers and beads. It was a sight to see.

In fact, I was so into scouts that I quit participating in my ward’s troop and joined a non-denominational troop. Don’t get me wrong, my ward’s troop was fine. Cameron was a member of that troop and he has memories of camping. But when I was participating it felt like all we did was play basketball and I really wasn’t that good at basketball. I felt like a real outsider in my ward when I was a young teen.

I remember one particularly trying evening at Young Mens / Scouts. I don’t remember what made it a hard night, but I do remember the drive home with the Scoutmaster. He was telling me to buck up. He told me, “Listen. My name is Lucius Levier G. You don’t think I got picked on? You will continue to be picked on, but you need to figure out how to deal with it.” That was some great advice.

My non-denominational troop was everything I wanted in scouts. We went on a camp once a month; we had leaders who made us earn our merit badges and came prepared to troop meetings. We also went to really cool Scout Camps. One year we went to Treasure Mountain, a camp at the base of the Grand Tetons. It rained and rained and rained, but we loved it. I had signed up to earn the Wilderness Survival merit badge and one of the requirements was that we spend the night in a lean-to that we built ourselves.

The merit badge counselor asked us to meet at a certain time and place to go on our camp and despite the fact that the rain was coming down in sheets, I was at the specified location at the specified time. The counselor and the rest of the scouts were not. This was not going to deter me, however. I built a poor lean-to at the foot of a hill and made my camp. I didn’t get ten minutes of sleep that night because rather than build a quality lean-to, I had essentially built a funnel. It was as if I were sleeping in a stream.

Until I wrote this, I never made a connection to another interesting scouting experience I had with my non-denominational troop. We signed up for the 50/20 (fifty miles in twenty hours). We all met at the This is the Place monument in Salt Lake City and we were supposed to hike to the Boy Scout Office in Provo. Somehow I was separated from my group, and as a result I was separated from my food and water. Sadly, I was convinced my group was ahead of me when, in fact, they were behind.

Keep in mind that I was only twelve, so my reasoning skills were not fully developed. At about mile forty, I was so dehydrated I started hallucinating. I saw talking chipmunks who kept urging me to stop walking and take a rest. Then I started to see chairs. I finally made it to a gas station on the corner of Center and State in Orem and I went into the bathroom. As soon as I sat down I looked up and saw a chair coming through the wall at me. I couldn’t take it anymore so I called my mom.

Writing this post has helped me see a pattern to my behavior. I was so driven to finish the 50/20 and so determined to get the Wilderness Survival merit badge that I made some pretty bad choices. I wonder if that was one of the reasons I never did much in Scouting after I earned my Eagle (at age 14). Either way, I look back at those experiences with fondness. My scout troop provided me with a lot of confidence during an awkward stage and I think I learned some good skills. And once we went to the Hogle Zoo and saw the Liger.

Posted by Guest Blogger: Christian from "Just Off the Top of My Head"

The liger huh? I didn’t realize they were around way back then… I thought they were a 2004 type thing.

So, how non-denominational was your Provo non-denominational troop? (I am curious)

Great post. Way too kick off the guest blogger. 

Posted by Rebecca

I have always loved the liger at the hogle zoo. It looks more alive than most of the animals there. 

Posted by Star

Rebecca: My non-denominational troop was completely non-denominational. The BSA as a whole is a very god-fearing organization so while God entered the picture regularly, no particular religion did.

I'm struggling with how to respond to your Liger question. Do I admit it was "way back then"? I don't really want to do that, but I also need to convey that the Liger had been around for a long time. In fact, the Liger was conceived in the zoo and I think it has since died. 

Posted by Christian F.

Sorry for the confusion. I thought you were making a Napoleon Dynamite reference. I had no idea that the Hoogle Zoo actually had a liger.

Deb: What are you drawing?
ND: A liger.
Deb: What’s a liger?
ND: It’s pretty much my favorite animal. It is like a lion and a tiger mixed… bred for its skills in magic

Oh yeah… and great picture. You should consider revisiting the flat top look.

Posted by Rebecca

You experienced everything I always wanted camp to be. I remember seeing my brother getting "tapped out" by a white man in a Native American costume. The scouts were all lined up across a finger of a lake and the whole thing was lit by torches. My mom cried. My parents told me that Chip would have to go back to camp and get his things all under a vow of silence....THAT IS SO COOL! #1 Torches #2 Vow of silence #3 sleeping alone in the woods.... AWESOME. I was a brownie, but the highlight of our activities was looking at all the cigarettes our leader had put in the toilet. After that, girl scouts had no appeal. Count yourself lucky, young man... Is scouts where you learned you awesome B-B-Q-ing skills? 

Posted by Carrie Ann

And glad to see you've grown into your eyebrows... 

Posted by Carrie Ann

GREAT post!! My little (I should say younger) also took his Scouting to the "next level" and LOVES it. Actually, he spends a TON of time with Kaycee's dad. The two of them can actually drive you a little batty.

Anyway, I'm glad scouting was so good for you, too...thanks for posting!!!

I've never seen a liger...I'm bummed. 

Posted by JP

Loved your post and perspective on scouting. What an amazingly determined young man you were (and still are, I'm sure!) I love what the scout program does for (most) young men.

My husband was really into scouting until about the same age. He found out about the "World Scouting Jamboree" to be held in Australia when he was 12, saved up every penny for 2 years and paid for the whole trip when he was 14. Another great example of determination and character-building thanks to the BSA. (Unfortunately for me...this 2-week trip was so memorable for him that I still have a HUGE tupperware in my garage of memorobilia from Australia. He is SO attached to all of it, you wouldn't even believe.)

Hooray for scouts!  

Posted by Suzie Petunia

Rebecca: It was both true AND a Napoleon Dynamite reference. Once I typed the word "skills" I just couldn't resist the Liger reference.

Carrie Ann: It sounds like you are referring to the Order of the Arrow. I'm sworn to secrecy or I would write more.

JP: Your brother is lucky to have found a great scout leader.

Suzie P: Even now I have a pang of jealousy reading that your husband made it to a World Jamboree. The only thing I have in my garage is an old chest with some sweatshirts that never sold. :)


Posted by Christian F.

Christian... you could SO sell those sweatshirts, now. Everyone needs a STIFFY.

My father (JP's bro's scout leader) has been to the past 3 National Jamborees and went to the World Jamboree in Grat Britain once.

Oddly enough, he never took us camping as a family, though. 

Posted by Kaycee

It makes me laugh that Kaycee's and my dad (and little bro) are such scout um...gurus. They love it. I love it. Good times for all. 

Posted by JP

Nothing would bring my husband more joy than for someone to show interest in his memorobilia. Please come. I'll serve tin foil dinners and s'mores for dessert.

I remember being "weirded out" by the tap-out ceremony. I thought boy scouts was supposed to be fun and educational, and then all of the sudden it was all secretive and my big bro wouldn't tell me anything. Then I felt dumb for asking. All he would say was that he got the wind knocked out of him and a big bruise. Sounds fun. 

Posted by Suzie Petunia

OK so I posted this on the wrong one, me not smart:

So heres the real post to the real place

Christian, I forgot what a scouting nerd you really were, but as soon as I saw the picture I remembered, like the time they had the scouts show up to church services in scout uniforms and pass the sacarment, I am really glad my brother did not let me. I also remember the infamous 50/20, I did not however know about toilet and the chair incident.
As to your "awkward" years, of course at the time it may seem bad, but if you think about it know its hard to feel awkward compared to the guys in teh troop, come on all they wanted to do was play b-ball. Plus I always loved, you gave me hope that there was a normal Faulconer out there.


Posted by Cameron

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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