Our Vigil Class of October 1996. Photo by Joe Leibold.
I joined Boy Scout Troop 16 at the Arcadia Avenue Presbyterian Church in January, 1953. I stayed in Troop 16 until I joined Explorer Post 16 three years later. In this time, I dreamed of being a member of the OA, but I guess I "just didn't have my act together." I was so impressed by the older Scouts and the "tap out" ceremony held in Spirit Valley at Camp Wokanda (the Creve Coeur Council camp at Mossville, IL.)
I returned to Scouting in 1986 with my own son a brand new Bobcat! Wokanda has long since been replaced by the W.D. Boyce Council's Ingersoll Scout Reservation near London Mills, IL, but some Scouting events, including Webelos Resident Camp and some weekend district outings continued to be held at Wokanda. Ah, the smell of the water... what memories that brought back! At 46, I was 11 once again...
I followed my son to Boy Scouting (though I remained as Cubmaster of the pack from which he graduated for 5 more years,) and found time to be on the Troop Committee as well as begin a 2-year tenure as Co-Commissioner of the district's Cub Scout Roundtable. I did the "summer camp thing," and in 1991 fulfilled my now-35-plus-year-old dream of joining the Brotherhood of the Order of the Arrow.
On the first anniversary of my Ordeal, I volunteered to serve as the Speaking Member of an Elangomat Clan. A Vigil Honor member from another Lodge had come all this way to endure The Ordeal once again... to serve as a role model for a new group of Ordeal Candidates, "Setting the Example." The experience was truly moving.
On the second anniversary of my Ordeal, I applied for Brotherhood Membership. Elangomats were badly needed, so I volunteered to serve. (Then I looked outside and saw that it was raining cats and dogs.)
On the third and fourth anniversaries of my Ordeal, I again served as an Elangomat for clans of Ordeal Candidates. This is a small burden... one which I shall gladly carry again.