An Open Letter (and a Cake) to Friendship

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Tonight was an annual cake auction our Cub Scout Pack holds to benefit Friends of Scouting. I was reluctant to join cub scouts five years ago for various reasons, none of which matter now. Tonight was the last year we’ll participate in paying too much money for cakes made or bought with love. I pride myself in contributing two cakes every year to this cause. It benefits the Friends of Scouting, and to be modest, I make damned fine cakes that bring in hundreds of dollars.

Tonight was the last night we will spend eyeing each other across the room, strategically driving up the bids higher and higher to benefit a good cause. These Cake Conspiracies are not about eating delicious confections. They’re about giving our thanks back to something we’ve all found invaluable in our lives and our families’ lives.

This cause is near and dear to our Pack Leader’s heart. His family generously give their time and money and devotion to scouts, and we gladly stand behind what’s important to them. I understand why Friends of Scouting is so important to them.

Because our affiliation with scouts has certainly changed my life, my son’s life, my family’s life. It has been through these years and activities that we’ve come to find some of our closest friends. These are loyal friends who will be at your doorstep within minutes if needed. These are friends who are part of the Village that it takes to raise our children. These are friends who I trust my children with. These are friends I trust my heart with. These are friends I trust my secrets with. These are friends who do not mind when I end a sentence or three with a preposition.

Scouting has also taught my son things I never could have taught him. Things I’d never have thought to teach him. He’s learned to tie knots, fire a BB gun, shoot an arrow, start a fire, read a compass. He’s learned how to plant trees, to pitch a tent, and to cook a meal on an open fire.  He’s learned why it’s important to give back to the community and how to leave this world a better place. He’s learned how to articulate clearly and how to talk to adults. He’s learned how to use power tools safely and how to build tiny weapons of mass destruction (trebuchets). He’s learned how to make a kite, model rockets and friends.

He’s learned to never leave your buddy behind. He’s learned it takes teamwork and cooperation and compromises to make a pack go. He’s learned it’s better to go without if it makes a friend happy. He’s learned we’re all in this together, and your tribe is as strong as your weakest link. He’s learned how to help strengthen the weakest link, especially when it’s him. He’s learned what it feels like to believe in something. He’s learned kindness and helping others are two of the most important tenets in life.

Scouts has not only provided us with these lessons and opportunities to enrich our lives and world, but it’s also provided my son several strong, smart, positive male role models. Scouts has provided us with families we trust and love and respect. Scouts has provided moms who are more patient than I am. Scouts has provided lots of siblings to whisper and giggle with. For all this, I cannot be more thankful.

So my Friends IN Scouting, I say thank you, and I love you. I’m so grateful for your love, support, positive role modeling. Thank you for enriching my life and my children’s lives in ways that we will always carry with us. Thank you for helping to shape my son into the young man I am so proud of. Thank you for helping to shape the person I am today, who I’m also proud of. I’m honored to have walked through these years with you, as we’ve made a difference in this world food-drive by food-drive.

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