treasure valley camp staff

Treasure Valley Camp Staff Goes the Extra Mile


Here’s a story that’s not going to make the front page of the paper. It’s not going to lead the evening news. But it says everything about what Scouting produces – character. The Treasure Valley Camp Staff went above and beyond the call of duty to help a young Scout.

Troop 159 from Brookfield was attending summer camp at Treasure Valley Scout Reservation in Rutland, Mass. just outside of Worcester. This past Thursday, one of their Tenderfoot scouts, Donald Parkes, a 13-year-old scout with special needs, forgot his bathing suit for his Swimming Merit Badge class. There just wouldn’t be time for him to get back to his site, get his suit, and return to the waterfront to get changed. This would prevent him from completing the final deep dives that he needed to finish off requirement 6 and finish up his badge.

Here’s what Donald would have to do to complete his badge:

6. In water over your head, but not to exceed 10 feet, do each of the following:

a. Use the feet first method of surface diving and bring an object up from the bottom.
b. Do a headfirst surface dive (pike or tuck), and bring the object up again.
c. Do a headfirst surface dive to a depth of at least 5 feet and swim underwater for three strokes. Come to the surface, take a breath, and repeat the sequence twice.

The weather on Friday looked like it would prevent Donald from getting back in the water, so the staff suggested he come back that evening to finish up his requirements during the Open Swim after dinner.


All Hands on Deck

Of course, the weather in New England is what it is, so by the time Open Swim came around, the temperature had cooled to 56 degrees. As you can imagine, this greatly reduced the number of people in the water… to just Donald and the hearty staff.

That 13-year-olds can be forgetful is something that camp staffs, leaders, and parents have come to expect. Especially anxious ones nervous about completing a challenging merit badge. So Donald, who had previously forgotten his swim trunks, this time forgot his dry clothing to change back into once he got out of the water.

So his Scoutmaster, Tim Kane ran back to the campsite to get them. Upon his return to the waterfront, Scoutmaster Kane was amazed by what he saw:

“Not only was Donald and his instructor in the cool water, but the entire aquatics staff here was coaching and cheering Donald on from the dock.

“An hour later, Donald earned this Eagle rank required merit badge because of his own perseverance despite his special challenges, and also because of a staff who refused to give up on him.”

These are moments that you feel privileged to get to see at camp. It gives you goosebumps, every time.

The Treasure Valley Camp Staff Comes Through

One doesn’t work on a Boy Scout camp staff to get rich. You do it because you want to make a difference in people’s lives. The Treasure Valley Camp Staff proved that in spades. But these amazing thing is that they don’t surprise us. We expect these things. What this staff did for Donald they’ll do for many other scouts over the summer.

In the end, it was Donald who did the work. He didn’t get any shortcuts to his merit badge. But it was the dedication and encouragement of the camp staff that he and his scout leaders won’t soon forget.

Hopefully, someday, Donald will have a chance to pay it forward and help a younger scout the way he was helped. The biggest lesson learned at Browning Pond had little to do with surface dives, and a lot more to do with life.

Mr. Kane put it best, “God Bless Treasure Valley Scout Reservation, our home away from home. Thank You.”




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