Friday, February 17, 2012

3rd 100 Days of Scouting: Day 10

Day 10

We have waited for this weekend for a very long time.

Four and a half years, to be precise.

A brand new troop of three Boy Scouts, all former Lone Scouts, and two Webelos Scouts who were about to make the jump to the troop began what is still our best project: backpacking the entire 184.5 miles of the C&O Canal.

The oldest was 16, and he would age out before we finished.  Another will age out in about 60 days, and we are making the effort to knock out the last 16 miles before he does.  He has been through all of the miles and trips up to this point.  The third Boy Scout just attained Eagle Scout status.  One of the Webelos Scouts is now a Life Scout, and the other is the SPL.  

The troop has grown to 22 Scouts, which stuns everyone.  Five more boys will move up from the pack, days before he ages out and graduates from high school.

This journey has been in pieces over the years, giving our troop legends and stories to pass along to the younger Scouts.  

The Life Scout, the SPL, the one aging out and I have completed the other 168.5 miles together.  So this is historic and a bit emotional.  We wrap up one adventure as these boys begin new ones--college, work and their own paths to Eagle.  I have watched, in way too short a window, these boys have become men who really only need me to be there because the rules say we need adults.

They have all the skills needed, and can out hike me any day.  I can still get 10-12 miles in, 15 if I have to, but they do it so fast.  And with such ease.

My phone rings from where we are staging our trip--getting a good night of sleep before the finale.  My family is dropping with a stomach virus at home, and there really isn't anyone old enough left to be in charge and help the sick.

I am momentarily torn.  These guys--let's be honest, my friends--are going to complete this now without me.  

Duty calls, and I leave them with final advice, reminders about watching the weather, and instructions about enjoying this last great moment.

Take a picture boys.

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