By Richard Mabey Jr.
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was late September of 1974. I was away at college. I received a manila envelope in the mail. It was from my beloved father. Inside the envelope was a hand-written letter from Dad, along with a copy of the latest edition of the old Lincoln Park Herald.
In his letter, Dad wrote me that Boy Scout Troop 170 won Third Place in the recent Council-Wide Camporee. Troop 170 was part of the Morris-Sussex Council. The council consisted of well over a hundred scout troops. And just about every scout troop of the council had attended this festive camporee competition. And out of over 200 scout troops, Boy Scout Troop 170 took third place in the overall competitions.
In his letter, my father wrote me how much he cherished being the Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 170. Dad wrote how much he missed me at the big camporee. I remember how my father’s letter brought tears to my eyes.
The Lincoln Park Herald had printed a picture of Dad holding out the new troop flag with his right hand, while holding the coveted camporee plaque in his left hand. In the newspaper picture, Dad looked all so happy. I remember that I cut out the photo of my dad and framed it and displayed it on my desk.
My father loved scouting. He felt that it was a way for a group of boys to learn to live together in harmony, if only for a weekend of camping. To cook for each other, wash their own dishes and to work together to earn their Progress Awards and Merit Badges.
My father was always grateful to Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church for sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 170. The church’s infamous Thorpe Hall served as the home for Troop 170 from 1958 till 1994. Dad served as Scoutmaster of Troop 170 for over 25 years, from 1966 till 1994.
Each and every one of us has a calling, a ministry, and outreach to serve others. For my beloved father, scouting was truly one of his most cherished ministries.
Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put on the subject line: My Life Publications.