Bird in the wilderness
By: Mike Walton (blackeagle)
Posted On: 2019-11-04
Bird in the Wilderness stock photo
As many of you are aware, I volunteer as a part of the Boy Scouts of America. I have been doing so as an adult -- with some breaks for various reasons -- since I was 18 years old.
I have served as a volunteer at the local level, the District and local Council level (which oversees and coaches local units), within two Regions and their Regional Areas (which oversees and coaches local Councils and their Districts) and nationally on various committees, task forces, workgroups and "a gaggle of people" reporting to national officers. I love the work, although it's sometimes "work" and not "enjoyment" or "fun."
One of the many things I have been tasked to do this past summer was to go around the Midwest to various Scouts camps and assist them with evaluating if they are ready to accept girls at the camp. Until this past summer, girls came to camp with their families and were treated like visitors...they could participate in some of the camp's activities but would get no credit for their work and no badges like the boys who attended did.
This changed starting this year (2019). The Boy Scouts of America desired to allow girls to become Scouts in our program, to work toward and earn Scout rank -- all of the ways up to Eagle, which was a long-time male-only "trail" -- and in a year and a half from now, young women can also proclaim "I'm an Eagle Scout" for the rest of their lives too.
This required some prep work. The work, in this case, ensures that the camp is running to the BSA's strong standards including that of separate showering/bathroom facilities for women and girls. The standard calls for separate buildings for female youth and adults; or clear signage which states that females are occupying and using the facilities.
Camp "review teams" (as opposed to "inspection teams", which grades camps on their adherence to the BSA's many policies and guidelines and gives them a grade which "goes into the permanent books" of both the camp and it's professional camp director) like the ones I was a part of and went to the camp during the usage or over a weekend. The goal is to see if the camps would "meet or exceed the BSA's expectation of good camping operation." I went to a camp near Indianapolis during one of those weekends -- a Saturday to be exact.
While walking around on the grounds of the small camp, which catered to the younger Scouts, called "Cub Scouts," I -- and many other people I am sure -- heard a familiar camp song being sung. The song originated from one of the several bath-buildings on the campground. The vocal bounced around in the otherwise empty building.
I stood and turned my head to orient first, where the sound was coming from, and then what exactly was the person singing so loudly!
After about a minute or so, I figured out both.
The sound was coming from a "latrine house" at the top of a hill close to the trading post. The song was a popular "waiting song" sung by Scouts and Scouters (adults, mainly adult leaders) as they chided "latecomers" to get there!
It appeared that this one Scout -- there was only one voice I heard -- had his OWN version of the "waiting song."
He was singing...
"Here I sit like a bird in the wilderness, bird in the wilderness, bird in the wilderness..." and then he would pause a bit and then continue, "here I sit like a bird in the wilderness, waiting to go number two..."
I smiled when I heard him sing the last part of his "verse."
"WAITING TO GO NUMBER TWO..." he sang louder than the other verse, "WAITING TO GO NUMBER TWO...Here I sit like a bird in the wilderness, waiting to go number two..."
He kept singing the same song for about two or three more minutes. During that time, other people started hearing the same song and either laughed outwardly or inwardly.
I moved onward, getting a good laugh from it myself.
That evening, in my electronic report to the lead "information gatherer," I wrote in part "I heard an interesting version of the "Waiting Song" while in camp. A young Cub Scout must have really loved that song...or just wanted something practical to do while waiting to use the toilet." I then wrote the "lyrics" to that Scout's version of the song.
I got back a response from Allen, the lead person in our team.
"You should have warned me of the song words, Mike!! I spewed coffee all over my keyboard, and you made me laugh so loud!! Why do you ALWAYS find the cute things about our camp visits! Mine was boring as sin. Did you see the Scout when he left??"
I wrote back to Allen, "Sorry, boss. I had to share that because it was so cute. No, I didn't wait for him to come out. He was singing his heart out and didn't really care if anyone could hear him or not. That, to me, is a good sign that the camp met his expectations...and the BSA's too."