• Jim Costa

Jim’s Rant For The Day. A Scoutmaster’s Nightmare.

Again folks, this one is for me just to get things off my chest.

My biggest fear as a Scoutmaster was a new eleven year old boy on his first camp-out. Not so much for the obvious things such as not following their boy leader’s orders to their wandering off alone or jumping over the fire. Oh no, these were just small concerns. My real fear was their mothers when they returned home. New boys’ perception of events retold to Mom can sometimes be misinterpreted. Here’s a good example. We camped on the back forty of an Air Force base one weekend. It was a great weekend in perfect weather; a successful outing. Then I got one of those dreaded phone calls an hour after getting home Sunday. Mom had a strong desire to discuss the fact that junior had been bitten by a baby alligator! Understandably she went nuts when I said I had no idea of what she was talking about. I told her I would call the Senior Patrol Leader and investigate. Half an hour later I explained to her that per his particular Patrol Leader, Junior had been playing with a lizard, it bit his finger and he was showing off to the other boys by dangling it. Now to my nightmare, that of being accused of illicit activity with a minor. All of my fellow adult leaders were well aware of my personal fear of just being alone with a younger boy. One weekend camp-out it stormed Friday night beginning an hour after arrival and finally stopping about 1:00 AM. My Assistant and I stayed high and dry in our pup-tent eating cookies and swapping jokes. About 1:30 we decided to check the camp out. All of the ship wrecked were sitting on two picnic tables with two large dining flies raised over them in an extreme “A” formation. This was the refuge erected for the flooded-out campers. Dan and I got to hear all the war stories. My personal favorite was from an older boy telling how he wasn’t about to get caught in the lowland so he pitched on the rising side of a hill. He forgot to dig a diverting trench on the uphill side and his sleeping bag collected a river running through it! Then I noticed a newby boy all alone in his patrol’s camp sitting on the ground in front of his tent. Nobody could explain what he was doing there. Dan and I said we would check it out as we headed back to our camp. As we got closer I saw my fear turn to reality. We had a side view of Junior as he was sitting with his legs crossed and was masturbating! My god, I had no training in this! I had no idea what I was supposed to do. What was amazing is as we approached he kept it up – there was a clear field between us and he obviously saw us. I asked Dan what we should do. He laughed and said, “You’re on your own.” and just stood fast as an observer as I entered the lion’s den. About ten feet away I realized he was stretching up his shoelace with his left hand and running a finger from his right hand vigorously up and down the string. Upon inquiry he explained he had a mosquito bite that itched! Folks, you can’t make this stuff up. I died a thousand deaths in that short walk alone to him. To this day I still don’t know what I was supposed to do if it had been real.

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