In case it wasn't obvious by the existence of this website, I have many memories about my time as a scout. Camping trips, hikes, canoe trips, and many more. And yet... there is one memory that sticks out to me. It is, in hindsight, perhaps the most boring memory one could think of when doing scouting, and yet, I think it is my favorite one. It wasn't a trip up a mountain or across a lake, oh no. It was a trip to the local super market.
I was a senior in high school. Rob, John, and I were among the last few people remaining in our troop of my generation. The others have either turned 18 or moved on to other activities. Being the oldest boys in the troop, the adults would at times depend on us. Mr. Z, our new scoutmaster at the time, emailed me and asked us to put together a list of things we had to pack for an upcoming camping trip, and which food to buy.
I messaged Rob and told him about the task Mr. Z entrusted us to do. Rob said to me "you know, we have the keys to the equipment room in the scout hall, why don't we just get the equipment out ourselves? The adults never do anything right anyways!"
I arrived at the scout hall; I don't remember if John picked me up or if I drove myself. John was one of the few of us that had a license and a car at the time, so we always asked him for rides. At the scout hall, we went into the equipment room and got out everything we needed. We also took the opportunity to make a pile of ancient utensils and other old things that seemingly haven't been used in decades. We found old jello mixes, Kool-Aid pouches, and busted utensils. We ended up throwing out a lot of expired and broken junk that night. The equipment room also never looked better!
We did notice that we were missing some things. Rob said to us, "Let's go to Hannaford!". Hannford, for those who do not know, is a grocery chain in the north eastern United States. We got in John's car and drove to Hannaford and we bought food and other things we needed for the trip. And you know something, we had a blast. Maybe it was because we were small-town nerds and this was the most exciting thing we did on a Friday night in a long time. But there was something amazing about going on a shopping trip with your friends for an upcoming camping trip with no adults around.
In hindsight, I think this was Rob's excuse to do the shopping himself. I think Rob got annoyed whenever the adults did the shopping or planned the menu. Usually for lunch, the adults would do cold-cuts or something boring, while Rob would always plan delicious meals, and also knew how to buy things cheaply as well. Rob always claimed "I don't know what the adults do, but I always seem to buy enough things for a camp out for less money than them!" We always ate well when Rob was on a camping trip; he always insisted on doing the cooking.
We got back to the scout hall, dropped off the stuff we bought, and went back to our homes. I emailed Mr. Z and told him "We did you one better Mr. Z, we went down to scout hall, got the equipment sorted, and also bought some supplies at Hannaford." Mr. Z was absolutely blown away, and he thanked us for our initiative. He didn't forget it either, he told this story to other scouts to inspire them to step up to the plate when needed.
This is such a silly memory. We literally did grocery shopping and moved some stuff around; and yet I will never forget this night. I think this was the first time I tasted the independence adulthood is supposed to bring. We drove ourselves, we did the shopping, we finally got around to cleaning the equipment room, and we did it all on our own without anyone telling us to. This was our troop, and we would do anything for it. A simple ask to put together a list turned into a night I would never forget. The adults always claimed we were a "boy-run-troop", and they were just there to advise. The trip to Hannaford proved it.