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Reminiscents from Mike Odem - written in June 2015:

Troop 146 A New Beginning

As I remember in 1994, when the dirt on earth was just forming, Cub Scout pack 149 crossed over its Weblos Scouts.  The traditional, and expected, troop our Webeloss went to was Troop 513.  However, in this year a man arrived from a troop which had been vibrant and long standing some years in the past but was down to two scouts on the roster. Troop 146.  The man was Mr. Dan O’Brien and he was a large imposing figure with a story of revival for this old troop.  This was the year some Webelos from several of the surrounding packs would take up the call and help breathe new life into the old troop at Bethany United Methodist Church.  

The first meeting was exciting. I don’t remember the numbers but there was a room full of people leaving standing room only. Mr O’Brien was talking about camping and organizing the group into patrols.  There were lots of scouts from different schools and packs accompanied by many dads and moms.  The group was sorted into patrols and then elections were held to form the patrol leaders council.  The troop was off to a start. 

This may seem business as usual to most folks, however, most of the time Webelos’s went to troops that were already running.  They were organized and the new Webelos was integrated into an established organizational structure.  It was not the case in this new troop.  Every scout was asked to step up to do more. This was a once in the troop lifetime opportunity for these new scouts. None of the leaders, youth and adult, had knowledge of how things should be run with the exception of Mr. O’Brien and his son Daniel, or as we called them Mr. O and little Dan.  In the beginning the adult leaders read the books, taught the merit badges and scout skills, and attended leadership training so we could help turn our group into a place where boys could learn leadership skills in a supportive, safe environment. 

In those first days Mr. O worked with little Dan to have a program ready each week.  They did most, if not all, of the planning and preparation that got us to the camping trips.  It was not too long before Mr O got help from some of the adults an little Dan got the Scouts doing their part too.  We camped every month, rain or shine.  The next year those young scouts were seasoned, capable, and alive with a since of adventure.  I remember one camping trip Mr O and I decided to sleep under the stars.   It was a manly thing to do so while camping at Pedernales State Park we rolled out our bed roll under the stars and went to sleep.  I woke during the night to the usual steady roar of Mr O’s snoring.  The stars were bright and the air was chilly.  I looked over at Mr O and I noticed something moving around him.  I watched and said nothing while the skunk climbed atop Mr O’s chest and nestled down for a worm spot to sleep.  I said nothing as I did not want to alarm the skunk or Mr O.  After a while both the skunk and Mr O seemed to be getting along just fine so I went back to sleep chuckling to myself that I could never have slept that close to anyone who snored that loud. 

When the morning came I expected to hear some commotion around the nights intruder but there was nothing said.  I asked Mr O how he slept last night and he said fine.  I told him what I saw and we laughed about it.  It was a good story for years to come and we never slept under the stars like that again. 

We shared many adventures over the next 10 years filled with excitement and fellowship, laughter and pain.  Scouting provided opportunity for all of us, young and old, to live life more fully, learn much about the people around us and to experience times with our friends and families.  Along the way we formed bonds which continue today. 

This story is about Mr. O.  He has cancer and is in his last days with us as I write this.  I want you all to know that he was a spark in so many lives and a kind hearted man with a strong since of right and wrong.  We were Scouters.

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