100 YEARS AGO - SCOUTING IN A PANDEMIC
Today we are living in uncertain times, for scouts, troop leaders, school teachers and, of course, parents. As scouts we know we have to be prepared. Prepared for what? This is not the first time in history that scouts had to be prepared to deal with a killing virus.
When I was a small child, my mom told me about my great uncle and aunt. He married the love of his life. My great aunt was one sweet lady that I loved to be around. I never met my great uncle and wondered where he was. One day my mom told me the story of their life. They married in 1918. At the time my aunt and uncle married, there was another deadly virus. It was called the flu virus. After they married and within their first year together, she became pregnant with a child my uncle would never know. He contracted the deadly flu virus and died. My great aunt was a bride, a widow and a mother and all in a year. As a child I could not understand how a flu virus could be deadly. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. Some of you wonder why this COVID 19 virus is so deadly, but it is. There is a saying that “history repeats itself”.
Scouting in America was born in 1910. The 1918 influenza pandemic was very severe.
The early scouts were hiking and camping just like you are doing today. They no doubt had a list of camping rules that their Scoutmaster gave them. These young boys were excited to be in this new youth movement, and their Scoutmaster told them like your Scoutmaster tells you, “Be Prepared.” They probably asked the same questions on how to get prepared for a virus pandemic. Now, I know those guys did not have a virtual camp out. However, they had to follow good sanitation at home and in the camp.
Believe it or not, we are just like those early scouts. We may have a different uniform to wear, but our scouting spirit is the same. The Oath and Law are the same and Be Prepared is the same. We are concerned with a deadly virus like they were.
I believe the values of scouting have not changed at all. Let’s continue to be safe and practice good hygiene all the time. Let’s wear our masks properly and practice social distancing. Scouting had a rough beginning, but it has lasted thru the deadly flu virus and two terrible world wars. Scouting will always be strong because we will always “Be Prepared”.
~ Mr. Dave Seraphin, Chaplain, Sugar Grove Boy Scout Troop 41 (September 2020)
DO IT FOR OTHERS
During Covid-19 we may feel afraid and frustrated. Afraid of getting the virus or having a family member become ill from it. Frustrated because we can’t do all the things we used to do and we now have to wear masks that can be uncomfortable. Young and old, we must trust in God.
God wants us to love our neighbors and friends. We should follow the advice of our leaders and scoutmaster. We must social distance, and we should wear masks to help keep everyone safe. Trust in the Lord. Follow our common sense by wearing masks and keeping good hygiene.
It can be tough to wear masks, but we will do it for others. In order to help others stay safe, we must sacrifice a little bit of ourselves. As scouts, we must trust in God and help our community, which ends up helping out the world.
~ Chris E., Chaplain Aide, Sugar Grove Boy Scout Troop 41 (September 2020)
LAST LETTER OF BADEN-POWELL
My son has a framed letter of Robert Baden-Powell in his home that touched my heart and I would like to share it with you. Mr. Baden-Powell is the founding Father of the Boy Scouts. I pray this letter will speak to you as it did to me.
"If you have ever seen the play 'Peter Pan', you will remember how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because he was afraid that possibly when the time came for him to die he might not have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with me, and so although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of goodbye. Remember, it is the last you will ever hear from me, so think it over.
"I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have as happy a life too. I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn’t come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self- indulgence.
"One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man. Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.
"But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it, and when your turn comes to die you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.
“ 'Be prepared' in this way, to live happy and to die happy—stick to your Scout promise always —even after you have ceased to be a boy — and God help you to do it.
I hope this letter was a blessing to you.
~ Mr. Dave Seraphin, Chaplain, Sugar Grove Boy Scout Troop 41 (October 2019)
A SCOUT IS KIND....BUT IT’S NOT EASY
On the last camp out of 2018, I challenged the attending Scouts to make 2019 a special year by observing one “special point” of the Scout Law. Of course we are held accountable for all the law, yet I want scouts to have their “special point” to concentrate in 2019.
The scouts learned on Saturday, that “A Scout is Kind” is my special point of the Law. I noticed some of the faces think that one point is sure easy.
It could be easy if they are nice to you. I was working with one of my therapists that was not nice to me. In fact, I personally believe she was down right mean. I told the scouts I think she ate rusty nails for breakfast. There were a few times I wanted to hide my Scout Shirt and give her a good verbal lashing. However, a scout leader must set the example by obeying all the Scout Law not just one or two points.
I eventually had to ask a former leader to offer me assistance because I couldn’t do it myself. Sometimes we need help of other people. This retired leader did that for me. In the end I did follow that point “A Scout is Kind”, but let me tell you it wasn’t easy. On my last day the therapist and I hugged each other and said good bye. It is not always easy to follow the points of the law, but it does pay off in the long run.
Let’s make 2019 a great year by picking one point and concentrating on it. Next year when we gather around our camp out Christmas table we will all be able to share how we helped make 2019 a great year.
Have a happy and healthy New Year.
~ Mr. Dave Seraphin, Chaplain, Sugar Grove Boy Scout Troop 41 (December 2018)
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
"The Miracle Mile"
Last February 21st, while wintering in the State of Florida, I fell on a Pickle Ball court and hit my head. I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The doctors had to open my head a remove a clot the size of your palm and 3/4 of an inch thick. They were able to find the small vein that was leaking and cauterize it.
The reason they could find the small vein amongst so much blood was because many people were praying for me and believing that Jesus would save me. The doctors told my wife that I had a 3% chance of ever functioning like I used to do before my TBI. Those doctors didn't know the healing power of Jesus.
I had my own private Learjet (air ambulance) to transport me from Florida to Chicago. It took two hours and I was in my next hospital, the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, where I spent 5 weeks rehabilitating. After discharge from this beautiful downtown lakefront of Chicago hospital, I spent 9 weeks doing out-patient rehab, 3 days a week for 3 hours a day.
I am so thankful for the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab both in Chicago and in Burr Ridge, IL. However. I am really thankful and blessed by all the prayers said for me.
Today, I still use a walking stick and a device I used in the Sugar Grove 5K race this summer called a rollator walker. I also believe my health is back because of all the people interceding to God for me on my behalf.
God is always around us. He was with me, surrounding me with His grace. I was at perfect peace as His love and presence were there. Pray for your family, Mom, Dad, brother and sister. (Don't forget your grandparents, too.)
What does "A.S.A.P." stand for? "Always Stop and Pray"
~ Mr. Dave Seraphin, Chaplain, Sugar Grove Boy Scout Troop 41 (August 2018)
Shirley Ryan Ability Lab
2018 SCOUT SUNDAY
Being an old scout leader, I enjoy reading old Boy Scouts Handbooks for boys. In the very first Scout Handbook published in 1911 (by the way this was not my Handbook that I personally used as a scout) on page 250 it states, “The Boy Scouts of America maintain that no boy can grow into the best kind of citizenship without recognizing his obligation to God.”
It goes on to state, “The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe, and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings is necessary to the best type of citizenship and is a wholesome thing in the education of the growing boy.” I personally believe those words hold true today, 107 years later.
On this Scout Sunday let us gather together as brother Scouts and Scouters to worship this great God who created the universe and then created you and I in His image. We were created to pay homage to this God not only in this life but through out all eternity.
If it be ever so possible to worship as a Troop on this Scout Sunday at the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, it will be a holy gathering. However, this may not be possible for us to do, (I for one will be in Florida). Let us attend our house of worship together in the Spirit. Let us pray on that Sunday for our Scoutmaster and all the Scouters of the Troop that God would direct Troop 41 in 2018 to give Him the glory.
As the psalmist states, “My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge” (Ps. 62:7). The Scout oath states “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God”. Let us do our duty to this Great God as we worship together on this Scout Sunday 2018.
~ Mr. Dave Seraphin, Chaplain, Sugar Grove Troop 41 (February 2018)
The Scout Oath states, “to keep myself physically strong”. According to the Scout Handbook, “Taking care of your body prepares you for a lifetime of great adventures.” The Bible also encourages us that taking care of our body is a spiritual discipline like prayer, going to church, or reading and studying God’s Word.
A minister once stated that the Bible embraces three incredibly important truths about keeping physically strong.
1. God made your body. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
2. Jesus paid for your body. The Bible says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you and was given to you by God? You don’t belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
3. The Holy Spirit lives in your body. If you’re a Christian (a follower of Jesus), the Bible says your body is God’s temple and that His Spirit lives in you (1 Corinthians 3:16). Being physically strong is one way you take care of God’s Temple.
As Scouts and Christians, we need to eat properly, get plenty of rest, and exercise regularly. Taking care of your physical body is one way to honor God. Let us worship this God who made us and loves us by keeping physically strong.
~ Mr. Dave Seraphin, Chaplain, Sugar Grove Troop 41 (October 2, 2017)
FIDGET SPINNERS..."CHRISTIAN PRAYER WHEELS"
The latest toy craze among young people today are fidget spinners. A fidget spinner is a small, rotating device that was originally designed to help children cope with anxiety, ADHA and Autism. However, now may people enjoy the sensory effects of fidget spinners.
The most common one is the tri-spinner ranging in price from $5 to $20, available at most stores. The more expensive ones have better bearings and overall better construction. Users of the spinners may hold them in one hand and use the other hand to spin it or hold it in the same hand and just flick it to spin it. Some fidget spinners have changing colors as they rotate.
The centrifugal force, along with the visual stimulation of the rotating device can provide a calming effect on the human mind, which is something we need in a world where many people are stressed out and overstimulated by technology.
I enjoy seeing the expressions on the young folks’ faces when they see an old man playing with a fidget spinner. I approach this object as a spiritual symbol rather than just a toy. The tri-spinner has 3 holes representing the Holy Trinity: one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit. When spinning, you cannot identify one hole from another, just as you cannot identify which person of the Holy Trinity is working in your life.
The centrifugal force is representative of God’s Spirit moving in and around a person. The colors of the spinner represent the beauty of our God that surrounds us daily. The spinning reminds me to pray to this great God who loves us and who is alive in this crazy world we inhabit.
Instead of a fidget spinner, I labeled this a “CPW” or a “Christian Prayer Wheel”. People have used tangible objects like beads to pray with in the past, such as Buddhist Prayer Beads, Catholic Rosaries, and Protestant Prayer Beads. These are all used to help us while we communicate to an invisible God, so why not a spinner?
So the next time you see a person with a fidget spinner and conclude they might have ADHS, remember they just might be communicating with God. By the way, how is your personal prayer life? A Scout is Reverent.
~ Dave Seraphin, Chaplain, Troop 41 (July 10, 2017)
WHAT IS EASTER, ANYWAY?
If I were to ask that question to scouts in Troop 41, some might answer, "It's baskets filled with chocolate bunnies", or "coloring hard boiled eggs for a floppy-eared rabbit to hide", or my favorite, "a whole lot of brightly colored Peeps".
The Easter story really begins with a baby born in Bethlehem by the name of Jesus. According to the Bible, this Jesus is the only one who can bridge the gap between a righteous God and a fallen human race. He was born so that we may have a personal relationship with this Holy God. He paid the price for your sins and my sins (Yes, Scout leaders do sin!) when He died on the cross on that first Good Friday. Sin is anything that turns us away from God. However, He did not remain dead. He rose from the grave on Easter Sunday and conquered the devil and sin once and for all. Today, we can enjoy God personally, if we ask Him to come into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
So enjoy those chocolate bunnies, the brightly colored eggs, and those wonderfully tasty Peeps. Jesus has risen from the grave so that we may have eternal life.
Happy Easter to the scouts and their families of Troop 41.
Dave Seraphin, Chaplain, Troop 41, Sugar Grove, IL (March 2017)
MERRY CHRISTMAS OR HAPPY HOLIDAY
This is the time of the year when we can say "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas". Some say that to be politically correct, the former is the proper greeting. However, let's take a closer look at what this time of year is all about anyway.
On December 25th the world remembers the birth of a Jewish baby by the name of Jesus in a small town of Bethlehem. The baby, according to the Bible, is God's son incarnate in a human body. Jesus entered our world not like a human, but as a human. The Bible states He was not only a sinless man but a Messiah and Savior of man's eternal soul.
Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. A child born in a barn, laid in the cradle became the King of the cross. In the darkest time of the year, He is the light of the world. Christmas is about Jesus the Christ (Messiah or Redeemer). This season isn't about "Santa-mas" or "shopping-mas" or "reindeer-mas", but "Christ-mas". Christmas is more than just a holiday; it is a Holy Day. Let's recognize the birth of the King, King of Kings by wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas" for Jesus is the reason for the season.
A very Merry Christmas to all Troop 41 Scouts and their families.
Dave Seraphin, Chaplain
Troop 41, Sugar Grove, IL (December 2016)
How strong is the Scouting spirit in your life? What is the Scouting spirit?
It is simply the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan being lived out in our lives daily. It is what binds us together with our brother scouts and scout leaders. For a strong spirit of scouting to be established in our lives, it takes time and lots of it. An oak tree takes years to grow and mature. A mushroom doesn’t take much time at all.
When we first joined our troop, we were very enthused an excited. We thought we had a strong Scouting spirit with our new friends and our sharp uniform. Later that spirit waned and our advancement took a second place to our other activities. We became discouraged.
The Scouting spirit will remain alive and woven into our lives as we continue to attend weekly meetings and monthly campouts. We will begin to see our character take shape and become strong like a mighty oak tree by practicing the Scout Oath and Law.
Will the Scouting spirit ever reach a pinnacle in our lives? That I cannot answer since it is still growing and developing in my life after 33 years. I personally believe it is a lifestyle. Be patient with yourself as the Scouting spirit changes your life.
God takes 6 hours to make a mushroom and 60 years to make an oak tree. Do you want to be a mushroom or an oak tree? You decide.
~ Mr. Seraphin, Chaplain, Troop 41 (September 2016)
A SCOUT IS HELPFUL
"A scout cares for other people." (Boy Scout Handbook, pg. 24, 12th Edition). If you think only of yourself, you are a selfish person. Selfishness destroys our relationships with other people, while selflessness will strengthen relationships. Selflessness means less of "me" and more of "you". The Scout Oath states, "help other people ALL the time." Selflessness brings out the best in other people. Everything you have in life is a gift from God because He is unselfish with you. Let us make an effort to practice selflessness today and see the results in your life and the lives of other people. A scout is helpful.
~ Mr. Seraphin, Chaplain Troop 41 (July 13, 2016)
A good New Year's resolution would be to do an act of kindness for at least one person everyday. An act of kindness, no matter how small is never wasted. Have you ever thought about praying for someone? Prayer not only has blessings now but also for eternity. Mr. Baden-Powell said we should do a "Good Turn Daily". Kindness changes the one who receives it, but it also changes the one who gives it. How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it. A scout is kind.
~ Mr. Seraphin, Chaplain Troop 41
RECOGNITION PAVERS - Camp CFL
Troop 41 donated an engraved paver to honor Dave Seraphin's 30 year tenure as our Scoutmaster. The Order of the Arrow and Lowaneu Allanque Lodge #41 is selling them to raise money for the new archery range at Camp Freeland Leslie in Oxford, WI. You can also donate by clicking here.
Read David Seraphin's Thank You message to the Troop below or by clicking here.
~April 24, 2016~
Let me express a very sincere appreciation to Troop 41's Committee for purchasing an honorary brick in my name to be placed around the flag pole at Camp Freeland Leslie. Serving as a Scoutmaster for 30 years could not have been accomplished without the support of an ancillary committee. When I assumed the office of Scoutmaster, I also, simultaneously managed the positions of Committee Chairman, Troop Treasurer, Advancement Chairman, Quartermaster, and Chaplain. I had a very good Assistant Scoutmaster who worked second shift and could only attend weekend campouts.
As time progressed a very energetic committee blossomed. This strong, vibrant troop panel of Scout leaders were extremely supportive during my tenure as Scoutmaster. Some of those men are still serving the Troop today. The efforts of Joe Rubo, Dan St.Jules, Mike Hauge, Gerald Long and my "Brother Bear" and man of God, Marv Hauge assisted me in this ministry.
I believe I was an ordained Scoutmaster; that is one called by God to serve the youth of Sugar Grove. There are two books which are important in a Scout's life: the Bible and the Scout Handbook.
My appreciation is extended to this Troop Committee, particularly to the above mentioned Scouters, who assisted me in this calling. For that I am forever grateful.
Dave Seraphin Chaplain
Sugar Grove, IL 60554