Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cedar Badge 2010: Crew Vespucci

It's time to post about Cedar Badge (: For those who don't know, Cedar Badge is the official National Youth Leadership training program for the Grand Teton Council of the Boy Scouts of America. It is youth led by a youth staff with some help from adults and the curriculum is taught by the youth using NYLT. The Venturing Scout program is co-ed and its purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. This was my third year in the program and I loved it. This program is awesome for many many reasons. One of them being that I don't have to care about what I look like for a week and nobody else cares too. Just kidding, I'm only half serious about that. Cedar Badge is awesome and I'm so lucky to have been a part of it this year. I decided to try out for staff this past year (staff are the kids who are in charge of the participants and help to plan and lead the whole trek) and I was expecting to go with a family friend's crew because I'd always gone with him. Merril had been trying to get me on staff since my first year so he told me that all I had to do was show up to interviews and I was on I was on his crew. I went in to interviews and I ended up interviewing at second week even though I wasn't even really planning on going the second week (there are three weeks of Cedar Badge; two in June, one in August). Later that day, I got home and recieved a phone call from Craig Butikofer asking me to be his vice-president of his crew.
Whoa whoa whoa. Hold on. What? Back up there...come again?
I was shocked. I had never been on staff before so I was expecting to just be a extra hand on whatever crew I made it on if I even made it! I told him that I would call him back (I was already thinking of saying no) and I immediatly called my family friend, (Later I found out that right after Craig called me, Merril came into the room and pointed at my picture and said, "She's ours." Craig had to break the news to him that he had just asked me to be his vice president. Oops.) After I talked to Merril for a bit (I was bawling..refer back to the post where I cry about everything) I went into my room and knelt on my knees. Before I even opened my prayer, I was told my answer. I was told, "Randi, yes, yes, yes. You are meant to go there and be his Vice-President. This is right. Don't doubt it and don't you dare say no." Well...who would like to ignore that one? I called Craig back, told him yes, and I've never been so happy that I did. But even though I knew that I was meant to go, I was downright anxious before I left. I had tried to get more friends to come but none could. I wasn't sure if I was even going to be good at being a staff member. I remember packing the Friday night before I went up and thinking to myself, "Can you really do this? I mean, the past few years at Cedar Badge have been fun but can you really do it?". I woke up Saturday morning and Craig and I drove up to Treasure Mountain together in the afternoon for the weekend before the participants get there. Craig and I have been to other Cedar Badge meetings and things before together and had gotten to know each other so I was glad to be riding with him so that we could hash out some final details of the week. And the fact that this kid is hilarious. We had such a good time riding together and it was a great start to the week. We got up to Treasure Mountain, met with the rest of our staff, set up tents, and all that good stuff.
Our staff had three adults leaders, Tad, Leland, and Lorraine and the other youth staffers were Craig, me, Kaitlynn, Trevor, and Donald. Tad is hilarious and was so much fun. I'd trust him with anything. Leland is a softie (: I will love him forever for bringing a portable shower so we could shower after our hike. Lorraine was Mama Vespucci. What a wonderful and amazing woman. Craig is hilarious but such a good leader. I was so honored to be able to work with him and I'm so glad we got along so well. Trevor and I had been at Cedar Badge before as participants and he's such a good kid. Donald is my favorite, as I told him everyday. This kid took care of me like no other. He was like my shadow on the hike (I can hike, I'm just really slow) and he stayed with me pretty much the whole time. Kaitlynn is the best tentmate I could ask for and I'm so happy that she was with me! We got along so well and she's such a sweetheart. She put up with my loud randomness and we laughed a lot together. We ran through the woods like Pocahontas and jumped in the water together. The week only picked up from there. Sunday we went to church in Drigg's in Tad's huge orange suburban. Tad's suburban was one of the best parts of the whole week. That thing is so beastly and so many funny moments happened in that car. (Like when we picked up hitchikers after church on Sunday. I will never forget Kaitlynn's face when the one sat next to her.) That weekend before the partcipants came was the best. We ran around and met everyone else, set everything up, challenged everyone to a string burning contest and won, ate great food and got to know the WOW moms, had inside jokes, and so many things that I can't even put into this blog post because there's not enough room! All I can say, is that I'm so thankful for the staff for Week 2. You helped to make my week great.
The participants showed up on Monday and from then on the week never slowed down. We hiked Big Medicine (a huge waterfall at Treasure Mountin) the first day, did service projects, hiked upper Palisades, hiked our butts off everywhere else, rafted and had an epic waterfight, sang songs all the time, ate even more delicious food, and soon enough strangers became friends, and those friends became family. I have so many favorite memories from that week. Like when Donald sewed a patch on my shirt at breakfast while I was still wearing it. Or making Kaitlynn laugh in the mornings when we woke up. Getting to know the WOW women and getting hugs from them just about every day. Playing the Human Knot game. Eating cobbler and staying up late. Staying up even later laughing with Craig and Kaitlynn. Singing the Titanic song and trying to beat the boys. Sleeping in the Burb. Getting to listen to Glenn Rossen speak at the staff Sunday fireside. Getting in a waterfight on the river with the drunk people. Christina braiding my hair. Laughing at the boys. Singing Disney songs. Praying for the weather. Potty breaks in the woods with Christina and Erica. Wearing socks with my sandals for the first time. Tad singing "The Second Story Window". Getting a Chaco dirt line. Running down the hills with the carts with Kaitlynn. Jumping in the lake for the swimcheck with Kaitlynn and freezing our butts off in the water while everyone laughed at us but later the boys nicely helped us out of the water. Waking up before everyone else and reading the scriptures to Kaitlynn. Getting eaten alive by mosquitos. The boys treating us as ladies even if some of us (me) didn't look like it. Karate chopping everyone. Doing the Trust Fall off the rock so Cody would do it. Laughing with Wade and Brandon about sleeping arrangements, crows, and fat mosquitos. Telling everyone not to sass (including the board of staff). Those wonderful WOW women letting us shower and blow dry our hair so we could feel like girls again and Lorraine telling us we were beautiful without make-up. Laughing at the little Boy Scouts who gawk whenever the girls come into camp. Bribing the boys with hugs. Everyone being friendly and having good manners (like when girls get to get their food first). Trying to cheer louder than everyone else. Getting a love letter from Donald and Spencer. Watching the Flags of Freedom program. The boys trying to scare the girls when we were on potty breaks by yelling "BEARS!" and Tad yelling, "Oh, the horror!!". Watching the Boy Scout skits. Trying to get tan but not burn. Staying up late in the lodge eating cereal and drinking hot chocolate. Earning a 50 miler patch. Doing the date skit with Craig. Eating Mickey Mouse pancakes. Taking a billion silly pictures. Walking around barefoot in the dirt. Looking at the stars. Scratching up my legs. Inside jokes about moose and mountain camels. Salt water taffy at nightly staff meetings. Teasing everyone. Listening to the wind rushing through the pine trees. Retiring a flag. I could go on and on but you've probably already stopped reading this. All I can say is that my week was blessed. Glenn Rossen asked us that Sunday why it was so easy to feel God in nature. I blurted out without thinking, "Well how can you not feel Him here? He created all of this, he's in everything." Heavenly Father is in Treasure Mountain. He is in those mountains and waterfalls. I walked along those paths and I felt my Heavenly Father telling me that I was His child and that He loved me. It's my own personal Sacred Grove up there. I know that I was meant to go to that week of Cedar Badge. I know that I was meant to go with those kids and learn something from them. I only hoped that I could touch someone's life because so many others touched my life. I'll miss Cedar Badge like no other. Leaving Treasure Mountain after graduation on Saturday was so hard because it was like leaving home. I already miss it. I'm homesick for my friends I met there. I'm homesick for my leaders and for the WOW moms. But I'm so thankful. Every year at Cedar Badge just gets better. I was lead to Cedar Badge so that I could learn something. I've learned friendship. I've learned just how much I love my country and the BSA program. I've learned how to be a good leader and how to be a good follower. I've learned how to make friends fast and how to make it last. I've learned how to serve. I've learned how to laugh things off. I've learned that a smile says a whole lot and in order to make others happy, you have to be happy or at least fake it (like when you're waking kids up at five o' clock in the morning). I've learned how to love people quickly. I've learned that being me is good enough. Cedar Badge changed who I am as a person and I'll be eternally grateful for the lessons I learned there.

The Venturing Oath
As a Venturer, I promise to do my duty to God and help strengthen America, to help others, and to seek truth, fairness, and adventure in our world.

The Venturing Code
As a Venturer, I believe that America's strength lies in our trust in God and in the courage, strength, and traditions of our people. I will, therefore, be faithful in my religious duties and will maintain a personal sense of honor in my own life. I will treasure my American heritage and will do all I can to preserve and enrich it. I will recognize the dignity and worth of all humanity and will use fair play and goodwill in my daily life. I will acquire the Venturing attitude that seeks the truth in all things and adventure on the frontiers of our changing world.

What a beautiful life.
Yes, those scout uniforms really are pretty comfortable.



Hollie Hanson said...

So awesome! Maybe you can teach Damon some scouting ways. That poor boy is surrounded by estrogen. and aside form sports, I am not much help! bwahahahaa

Randi Lynn said...

I love me some scouting!