Having seen Everett Winn show us his cherished hiking stick collection at the Interfaith Service last weekend, it got me thinking about things that I keep around – my collections. Like Everett, there are certain things that mean a great deal to me. None of my things would get serious attention on Ebay, but they are priceless to me. Each triggers a certain memory of a special occasion or important person in our life:
- My mother helped me start my plate block stamp collection when I was 7 years old
- The patches recall a hundreds of scout activities over the last 40 years.
- The neckerchiefs were traded with people I met at the World Jamboree
Last night, I had a chance to exhibit some of my collections. Our first Pack Meeting of the school year was themed around “collections”. Nine types of collections were displayed on tables for a gathering activity and the boys were asked to rank them from most to least favorite. These collections were all mine and I was curious to see what grade-school boys thought was interesting these days.
It was no big surprise to discover that the highest ranked collections were shiny (crystals, old pennies, and hiking medals.) Less popular were my most prized collections of stamps, neckerchiefs, and patches. After hearing of their thoughts about my stuff during a group discussion, I asked them what they collected. Their answers included state quarters, Legos, and Pokeman items. There was one future comic who said he collected albums from the Beatles and Black Sabbath.
The most important collections we keep are not physical things that you put in a box and look at once in a while. Rather, they are relationships and memories of people. As a scout leader, you will encounter dozens of youth through the years. Your favorite memory of each person will be different. It might be teaching a new skill to a Cub Scout, the excitement of a scout receiving his First Class badge, or hearing a Venture Scout tell you about their plans for college.
A collection of good memories and friendships is your reward for all those hours invested in scouting. It is a collection that you will treasure. A special memory of you and all the cool experiences will likely be part of your scouts’ collections too.