Tag Archives: Scouts

Artifacts: woggles / variety (scouting)

bucket of woggles (now is stewardship of young Lee Olson)

When my brothers and i were wee lads, our beloved Mom was out cub scout leader.

In Canadian (and international) scouting, the leaders of the cub pack are named after characters in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Mom was Akela, Mikki Gladstone was Bagheera, we also had a Baloo and others.

After Mom passed away and the brothers and I were sorting through items, Dan and I assembled a tub of “woggles” which are little sliders designed to hold the kerchief/scarf together around one’s neck.

Of course, there is plenty of creativity available for such a device – many are evidenced in this collection.

Continue reading Artifacts: woggles / variety (scouting)

Portrait: Junior Cub Scout

Junior Cub Scout, circa 1978?

Before the arms were adorned with badges (basically every single badge except the sailing one) and before i was a Chief Scout (basically the youngest one ever), i was just a Beaver graduate trying to make my way in the intimidating world of Cub Scouting.

Soon, i became a “6-er” and a “2-nd” or something and was qualified to lead the DYB DYB DYB chants. Heady days which began with a wee cub and his badgeless grey flannel shirt and fantastic hair (and yet another pair of specs). 

 

Artifacts (youngtime): Scout ID, Camps, Lessons, Certs including “Mr Fun” award

Certified and Valued, 1979-1981, signed my my Mom/Akela
Surrey (BC) Parks and Recreation Commission aquatic program ticket #2636 – year unknown – Mon-Fri 12:00-12:30 July 2-13. No Refunds.

Indeed, youth and childhood is often laden with activities of various sorts… some ad hoc as it were, others organized in some formal manner or another. This round-up contains evidence of the latter in the forms of artifacts from swim lessons registration card, summer camp maps, scout ID cards and camp photo and importantly, a certificate proclaiming me as “Mr. Fun” at some summer camp with a Troop of which i have no remembrance. Carry on with the fun!

Boy Scouts of Canada 1975-76 “Dave Olson” (note signature)

Continue reading Artifacts (youngtime): Scout ID, Camps, Lessons, Certs including “Mr Fun” award

Artifacts (youngtime): Chief Scout’s Award – evidence / letters, photos, certificate – ca. 1983

from left Dave Olson, various RCMP and Judge, Bob Olson front, Brad Coleman far right – receiving Chief Scout’s award, 1983

In Canadian Scouts, the highest accolade one can achieve is the Chief Scout’s Award. Requires a whole load of badges and tasks and whatnot – sorta like the US Eagle Scout i suppose.

Anyhow, as it goes, most Scouts earn this on their way out and onto Ventures (the next age bracket group) but diligent as i am, earned at a young age (was told youngest ever but no way to verify) and attended the ceremony (requiring special permission apparently) along with older brother Bob and pal Brad Coleman. Must been 1983.

What follows are artifacts and evidence to this point.

(As obvious) this is a letter from Governor General who is apparently the Chief Scout of Canada) acknowledging earning of eponymous Chief Scout’s Award.

Continue reading Artifacts (youngtime): Chief Scout’s Award – evidence / letters, photos, certificate – ca. 1983

Goodbye Baloo – a robust and authentic leader of Surrey youth

Baloo, Akela and Bagheera and Cubs Scouts at Guildford mall, circa 1979
Baloo (C), Akela (R) and Bagheera (L) and various Cubs Scouts (including Gordon Manson and Dave Olson)  at Guildford mall, circa 1979 (photo by Mike Peters i think, provided by Gordon Manson, cropped for clarity by me)

I knew Michael as Baloo (and/or DonM.), as that was his Cub Scout leader name, named after the big friendly bear in the classic “jungle book” story by Rudyard Kipling.

But, before he was a Cub Scout leader, I knew him from the neighborhood growing up in Guilford in the 70s. Gordon and I were childhood friends, involved in all sorts of little activities like making “secret club”, building tree houses and romping around “Guilford mews” condo complex.

Later, the family join the same church my parents belong to and so I was friends with Gordon both at elementary school and at church.

One of my favorite memories of Michael was when he took us to the PNE in an old Pinto car. After he loaded us up, he explained that the brakes were shot on the car. Somehow I wasn’t worried at all! I watched him as he drove a stick shift and explained to me carefully how he was downshifting to slow the car down to “save the brakes.” He expertly and gently used the stick shift and handbrake to get us there safely for a day of fun. Later on in life when I had an old Volkswagen bus with the same conundrum, I would think about him as I would downshift and expertly and gently slow my jalopy van safely through traffic.

As Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, he took on the task of teaching us karate. Of course an unruly group of boys thought we would be breaking bricks after the first half an hour but, instead, he explained to us all that we had to learn to meditate. Imagine a room full of us “trying“ to sit still and be quiet. It wasn’t entirely successful! But then, to show that he was in charge and knew what he was doing, he challenged us to all punch him as hard as we could to see if we can make him flinch. All of us thought we were so tough as we would try to so I came out and land a solid punch in the gut and he just laughed heartily at us. It put us all in our place, and we were much more attentive after that.

He also often brought his guitar, especially on scout outings, and would lead sing-alongs. We were all amazed by his versatility and thought it was super cool that “we” had a leader who play guitar.

Maybe you’ve seen the photo of the whole gaggle of us, with my dear, recently deceased mother and third leg of their leadership tripod Mickey Gladstone, with Michael front and center with his guitar and mustache. I am leaning on his left shoulder with my glasses and goofy childhood grin. The whole pack of us looked at him as our protector and “bonus uncle” knowing that while he was a big friendly bear, he would protect us at any cost.

The measure of a man can often be judged in their children, and garden resurfaced in my life a few years ago and we realized we were at in similar industry and were able to “talk shop“. You could tell the big heart was passed on when he arrived at my 42nd birthday party with an entire roast beef wrapped in aluminum foil he cooked for the occasion. “Just in case there’s not enough food” he said. And dear Sherri, as I’ve gone through some health challenges of my own these past few years, she’s been there so very often with a kind word of support and encouragement. It means so very much to me. Truly his quality lives on through his offspring.

Indeed, diseases can be very cruel and seeing Michael deteriorate physically to a shadow of his former robust self was a bit shocking at first as he was such a robust and powerful man – I witnessed something similar with my own dad‘s journey with dreaded cancer though it was a six week or deal from news to death – however I was comforted to know that his mental faculties stayed intact and he was able to show his children affection until the end, spared the ravages of dementia.

Dear Michael, know that you were a “big fish” to a gaggle of us kids growing up in (rather rough and tumble) Guilford in the 1970s and your protective spirit will linger on and all of us for decades to come.

Gratefully and respectfully, Davey Olson, Cub Scout pack member

Portrait: Resplendent Cub Scout

Resplendent Cub Scout, circa 1981?
You’ve heard of full patch Hells Angels, right? Well this is what a full
patch Cub Scout looks like – pretty much the same thing… No doubt the Brownies were lining up for closer observation of the middle part hair, slightly feathered. 
 
 

Dave Olson, Cub Scout / ID badge from 1975-76

Appropriate identification. Can i use this to purchase beer?  Note: Always Dave, rarely ever David. 

 

Portrait: Old Man Cub Scout

Old Man Cub Scout, circa 2011

Keen observers will notice this is not authorized uniform, or a prescribed salute, nevertheless, as a former full-patch Cub and Chief Scout award recipient, i figure i can do whatever I choose – Regulations be danged i say!

Note: this was at photo booth at Craig and Lien’s wedding at a fancy Chinese resto after i had just conducted/MC’ed a 4 hour festival of frivolity in Japanese. The suit is a thrift store beauty.

Good to see many beaver scouts…

Good to see many beaver scouts in the house – I was once in their ranks