More on Ranger Award
by Richard Thomas
Your posting by Kent Halstead and a call from him after too many years prompt me to add a few great memories to his collection. We were scouts together in the same troop and Explorer Post in Aberdeen, S.D. in the mid 1940s and both won the Eagle and Ranger awards. We were part of a very active troop and all passed through the ranks together to take leadership positions but also wanted more of a challenge in the great outdoors. When the Explorer program was announced we all jumped at the opportunities. One of our respected scoutmasters agreed to be our adult leader and we were active in both the troop and the Post.
During the summer of 1944, I was able to spend two weeks at the Region Ten Canoe Camp on the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. It turned out I was the only scout to arrive at the appointed time. Rather than return home one of the guides agreed to take me with him on a great adventure deep into the Quatico Park in Canada. It was a life changing experience for me and I came back to the Great Plains of South Dakota a real woodsman. The next year I worked for the Pheasant Council camps teaching canoeing and water skills as I finished my Eagle award. My friends were fascinated with my tales of the deep woods on Canada and the next summer the beginnings of our Explorer Post arranged for a two week adventure with Region Ten. With my Eagle award in hand in 1945 I went to the Ranger Award and was the first scout in the region to win both awards -- Kent was not far behind and we encouraged each other along the way. I continued to work camps for many years and directed canoe operations in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan while finishing graduate school. With Kent I happily praise the scouting movement as it was a very important part of sharing my life and my development as a responsible man.
Just another comment -- the years fly buy and recently I was working with a group of potential Eagle Scouts on their large service project. I spoke at a district meeting about the opportunity and to introduce my presentation I took along my Ranger Badge and asked if any of the leaders had every seen one -- not a single hand went up! Scouting has changed and that is important as the needs of young persons have changed. What is an antique now is the symbol of a rich part of growing up that forever prompts warm memories of fellow scouts and leaders who made the program a wonderful adventure and have passed the torch for another generation. BE PREPARED!