By Osama Mourad
Al Hamd Lellah, I am invited for the second time to serve in a Wood Badge course, which is the advanced leadership training for boy scout leaders. God willing, I will be on course #1 (92-90) this spring, March 16-18 & April 13-15, 2018 at Bert Adams (Covington, GA) with a great group of volunteers from all over Atlanta.
Every course has a theme, ours is “The Power of One”, how one small change can lead to a bigger impact, how one word can make a difference, how one person can influence others.
Thinking about the theme and looking through my scouting experience since its beginning, I remember some moments, a morning in the school assembly when they announced that registration is open for the scouting program, then the first day of scouting, a boy 15 or 16 years old leading us to a camp site to meet the cubmaster/scoutmaster for the first time. I remember how big the group was that day mixed between cub scout age and boy scout age.
I remember the day we learned the square knot, doing competitions of who can tie it faster with his eyes covered or with his hands behind his back. I remember the first time to carry a tent with 3 other boys to pitch it with the rest of the boys, 2 boys at each pole, a boy at each corner pulling the tents’ ropes.
I remember my mom helping me build my first first-aid kit (it was the best), sewing my first neckerchief that she was using as well to tie her hair while working in the house, I remember arguing with her that the scout neckerchief should only be for scouting, but at the end it was always easy for me to find it before meetings.
I remember our trip to the Pyramids of Dahshur, crossing the Nile River on top of a ferry, I remember that day the scoutmaster paying from his money for the transportation, as I remember the annual fees per member was 1 Egyptian Pound, giving that we were the only private school in our city, he wanted to make the program affordable for all. Not sure if he was smiling or trying to take a breath that hot day asking me to settle down or I will be very tired by the end of the day, I remember I was singing and flipping on the sand, he might have been trying to find a quiet moment in a long sunny day.
I remember him teaching us how to shoot with his heavy German bird rifle in the middle of the school yard during school break, I remember waiting in line to see through his big binoculars while hiking around Marsad Helwan (the observatory area), eating the eggs we cooked inside the potato which was one of the most creative things I ever saw.
I remember my first patrol leader election, remember selecting my first assistant who became my best friend at the time and for years later. I remember the game we played during my first ever training as a patrol leader.
I remember the day the Scoutmaster organized the troop into patrols without assigning me to any of them which worried me, to later surprise me at the end saying “Qaied Osama” which is equivalent to Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, I still remember my feelings that day.
I can see the power of one, one announcement calling for boys to join, one 15 year old boy leading younger boys, one team standing in lines facing their cubmaster for the first time, one help and support to finish a requirement, one exciting trip with the team, one good action from the unit leader, one supportive friend, one adventure and one big encouragement.
All these may sound like nothing to you, but for me it was a big part of my life those days, very simple things, actions, smiles and memories but for me it made a difference.
Today I called my first Scoutmaster Mr. Hasan Ahmed Hasan, who is a Wood Badger too, and I believe if there is one reason for me to be in scouting, he would be that one.
About Osama Mourad: Started scouting as a Cub Scout at The Holy Family School in Egypt in the 5th grade, stayed in scouting until he became the Assistant Crew Leader. Now, the father of 2 Cub Scouts, he is a Cubmaster for Pack 12 and a Committee Member with Troop 12.