Sunday, October 23, 2011

To Help Other People at All Times

Years ago I was at an Order of the Arrow event at Camp Kiesel. The youth were playing a camp-wide game of capture the flag. The camp occupies the juncture where two narrow canyons intersect. The boys decided that one team's turf would be Dry Bread Hollow, while the other team was assigned to Wheat Grass Canyon.

This setup proved to be quite challenging. Boys from both teams were easily captured as they tried to move through the common area of the camp between canyons. Suddenly someone from the Dry Bread team came running into the lodge, reporting that two boys were stuck on a ledge high above the canyon.

Apparently the boys had tried to climb over the top of the mountain to get from Wheat Grass to Dry Bread so that they could approach the other team's flag from the rear. They successfully scaled the mountain, but on the descent into Dry Bread they slid down to a ledge with a dangerous drop off. There was no chance for them to move laterally or to climb back up they way they had come.

Several of us ran up to the location to assess the situation. Nowadays we have plenty of trained individuals and climbing gear around, so a rescue of this nature could easily be affected. But back in those days we didn't have that kind of training or gear.

One of the older youth, Doug Hopper, knew just what to do. He quickly recruited a crew of strapping 17- and 18-year-olds. Within a few minutes, they were on the canyon wall above the stranded climbers. Doug had the crew form a human ladder. He was the guy at the end of the ladder that trusted the others enough to risk his life to pull the younger boys to safety.

I have always remembered Doug's bravery and willingness to help. These are two qualities that all scouts promise to implement. Doug had a career as full-time military as a flight instructor. As a full-time commercial pilot, he now serves in the reserves.

Delose Conner tells about taking a 15-passenger van full of Camp Loll staffers into Yellowstone National Park one weekend. As they traveled they came upon a scary scene. A car was backed up against a drop off where there was a little pull-out on the side of the road

One of the car's rear wheels was hanging in free space. A mom and two kids stood off to the side looking anxiously on as the father sat in the driver seat revving the engine and trying to keep the precariously positioned vehicle from sliding over the edge.

Delose immediately pulled off and got out to see how he could help. It was suggested that the van could be used to pull the car back onto the road, but they had no tow straps. Then one of the staffers suggested that they simply pick up the car and put it back on the road.

As the adults in the situation balked at that idea, the staffers gathered around the car, picked it up, carried it a few feet, and put it down on safe ground. Delose quips that you can accomplish anything with 15 teenage camp staffers.

Scouts promise when they recite the Scout Oath to help others "at all times." This means helping when it's not convenient and helping even when no one has organized a service project. It means being aware of how one can be helpful and doing what one can do to help others. Like other scouting principles, helping others implies a degree of selflessness.

On my honor, I will do my best to ... help other people at all times.

No comments: