Chapter 10

Monday morning, Jason went to Mr. Richards' office first thing, to make sure the money was safe. Lo and behold, there was even more there than when he last counted it. There were several checks and the amounts were, to a nearly sixteen-year-old, staggering. Haven Enterprises had donated $5,000 and The Phoenix Foundation had $10,000 Dr. Turnman had a personal check for $1,000. He gathered up the money and placed it in his backpack and headed off to class to wait for Mr. Little.

At a little after ten o'clock, Mr. Little arrived and he checked Jason out of class. On the way to the bank, Jason told Mr. Little about the extra checks that were in the drawer. "Well, Jason, it just goes to show that there are people out there that value you boys. The results of this event have really surprised me."

"Yeah, I didn't really think we were actually going to get to go to camp. I figured maybe next year, if we worked hard," Jason said.

"Well, you don't have that to worry about now. I would like you to set up a summer camp account that is separate from the regular troop account. This money was donated for the Scouts to go to summer camp, and that is exactly what it should be used for," Mr Little explained. "This is your job, so you get to lead. That means, I'll back you up, but it's your job."

"Wow, okay, I guess."

"This is a youth run organization," Mr. Little quoted the first troop rule.

Parking in front of the bank, they went inside to the new accounts desk. The woman at the desk looked to Mr. Little, ignoring Jason completely, and asked, "May I help you, Sir?"

Mr. little smiled, "Yes, ma'am, you certainly can, by helping this young man."

She glanced at Jason, then back to Mr. Little. "Would he like to open a savings account?"

Mr. Little, still smiling, but with his lips only, not his eyes, said, "I have no idea. You need to ask him."

She turned to Jason, "Do you want to put some of your money in a savings account?"

Jason felt like he was being treated like a four-year-old, so he'd act like one. "No."

Mr. Little tried to keep a straight face and not laugh. He was liking Jason more and more.

The woman looked back at him. "Well what does he want? I'm busy and don't have time for this."

This was overheard by the bank president, as he approached the desk to say hello to his son's Scoutmaster. "Ms. Sooker that will be enough. Mike, why don't you and the young man come with me."

Mr. Little and Jason followed the man into his very nice office. The name on the door was 'Jonathan Carson, President, Haven Credit Union.'

Mr. Carson looked at Jason, "Hello, I'm Mr. Carson. I'm Joey's dad. What can Haven CU do for you today?"

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Carson. I'm Jason, the Troop Scribe. I would like to open an account for the Scout Troop summer camp fund. I would like it to be separate from the regular troop account."

"Well we have several different types of accounts that might work for you. How much are we talking about?"

Jason told him the amount he had in his pack, and then Mr. Little added the amount for the sale of tickets for the meal and what parents had already paid towards summer camp.

Mr. Carson whistled. "I think you might actually want to put some of that in a certificate of deposit or at least an interest earning account of some kind." He opened a file drawer, took out several pamphlets and handed them to Jason. "These explain the different types of accounts and the advantages of each type. I think we should open an account, for what this is going to be used for. I would suggest a savings account, and you can let me know if you want to structure the account differently."

Jason waited for Mr. Little to respond, and when he didn't, Jason turned. Mr. Little returned the look and raised an eyebrow. Jason turned back, "Ah, okay. I'll give these to the Troop Treasurer and have him call you."

Jason felt Mr. Little put his hand on his shoulder. "No, Jason, you study this, and I'll call a Committee meeting for Tuesday night, and you can present your decision to them for how the money is to be handled; then you can contact Mr. Carson with the directions."

"Okay, Jason, let's see what we have." Mr. Carson said.

Jason opened his pack and set out stacks of bills; ones, fives, tens, twenties and there were even a couple of fifties. Each denomination had a rubber band around it and a slip of paper giving the total on that bundle. There were a lot of bundles. Mr. Carson began counting the cash. Jason initially felt insulted that his count wasn't trusted.

Mr. Carson glanced up and saw the expression on Jason's face. "Basic banking rules, Jason. Always count a deposit yourself. If I enter an amount in the computer and it turns up short then I owe that amount to the bank. Also sometimes you find that when the client counted the cash a couple of bills were stuck together and there is more in the stack than they thought. I'm counting it here in front of you, to protect me and you. Here is an example," Mr. Carson handed Jason a stack of tens labeled $500.

Jason counted it and blushed. "I got five hundred twenty."

"So did I. That is why we always count all money coming in." Mr Carson smiled and took the stack back, removed two bills then continued on. He added each bundle on the adding machine on his desk then the checks. He then turned to Mr. Little's small stack and counted and added that, too. This is quite amazing; you now have Twenty-six thousand, four hundred thirty seven dollars. I believe that is well over double what is needed for your summer camp. Let's get this in a savings account and you can let me know what to do with the rest."

A few minutes later, Jason and Mr. Little left the bank and Jason had the Savings Account book in his hand, along with the pamphlets. "Mr. Little, this is a lot of responsibility. Are you sure you want me in charge of all this?"

"Yes, Jason, until or unless you prove you can't handle it, I want you in charge. Remember what I said about this being a youth run organization?"

"Ah, yes, sir, but I didn't think you really meant it."

Mike Little smiled, "Well, as long as nothing dangerous is happening, I will stay out of it. If you need help, I'm always available and so are the other adults. You can also talk it out with the other youth leaders like Nick, Matt and Andy."

Jason spent the rest of the trip and most of his free time reading the pamphlets and looking things up on the Internet. He had some surprises for the Troop Committee.

Tuesday night, all the older boys were anxious to get to Scouts. Jason had already told them that he was pretty sure that the Troop Committee was going to approve all of them going to summer camp, since they had raised so much money. He wouldn't tell them how much money they had raised though, because it wasn't official until the Committee actually did approve it.

Mr. Alexander came and got Jason, right after opening. They went to the classroom that the Troop Committee was using for their meeting room. Jason felt as if he had about a billion butterflies in his stomach. Mr. Alexander introduced him to the committee, and he sat down, feeling as if he was really in the hot seat.

He took a deep breath and began. "Thanks, Mr. Alexander. I am here tonight to report on what happened with the fund raiser, and what I think should be done with the money that we raised." He handed out a neatly printed spreadsheet and a summary of his report. "As you can see, we have an extremely large sum of money. I propose that we pay for this year's summer camp from this fund. I know that some parents have already made payments for their kids to go, and they should be given the option of either getting a refund or being able to apply that sum to dues, or even to next year's summer camp. Now, as you can see, if we do that, we will still have quite a large sum left. I have done some research, and we could purchase bonds to yield a good rate of interest, but they would tie up the principal for several years, depending on the bond. Since we may decide we need some of the principal next year, I looked at some single-year options. Of course, a savings account is still a pretty good option, and it would let us have access whenever we wanted. However, I think a Certificate of Deposit might do better. They have a higher rate of interest and we could purchase six-month or twelve-month certificates. Each of these options has its good points and bad points, and I think what would serve the Troop best is a combination. Right now, all the money is in a savings account. I propose that we pay for camp, then put one third of the remainder in a twelve month CD, one third in a six month CD, and leave one third in the savings, so, if we need access, we have it, without having to pay a penalty."

Jason took a breath and looked around. Most of the committee members were looking rather stunned and overwhelmed. Mr. Carson, from the bank, was sitting there, grinning at Jason. He was also looking around the table. "Mr. Chairman, as Troop Treasurer, I would like to go on record; this plan is actually far superior to the one I had in mind for this windfall. Jason has certainly done his homework well on this, and I move that we approve this plan, as submitted."

Mr. Richards spoke next. "I have one thing to add. The board of the Phoenix Foundation has decided that they still want to support the Scouting program for the boys, and the board has designated me to deliver this check for the summer camp fund, in addition to the donation they made earlier." Tom handed the check to Johnny. "Add that amount to the surplus, and I will second the motion."

Mr. Alexander then said, "A motion has been made and seconded. Is there any discussion?"

After a silent pause, "Is there any discussion?" Another pause, "Is there any discussion?"

Mr. Alexander said, "All in favor, say 'Aye.'"

Everyone said, "Aye."

"Any opposed?" Silence. "Let the record show the plan was approved by a unanimous vote."

Everyone stood and congratulated Jason, shaking his hand and patting him on the back. The meeting broke up, and Jason went over to Tom. "Mr. Richards, what you just said; does that mean that the Foundation is helping us with Scouting?"

"Yes, Jason, it does. The dues for all of you boys are being paid, as are all fees for camping trips, and even your personal camping gear. They feel that Scouting has been very important to them, and they want to make sure that it is there for all you guys, too." Tom answered, echoing what was said by Neal and Travis at their meeting.

"Awesome! Thank them for all of us, would you please?" Jason started to leave, but Mr. Carson was waiting for him. "Jason that was an awesome presentation you made. When do you turn sixteen?"

"A week and a half, Sir."

"Do you think your guardian would approve of you working at the bank?"

"A job? Really? Oh, wow! Yeah, I think so. Mr. Gregory is pretty cool."

"I was very impressed, and I meant what I said about your plan being better than mine. As it happens, because of some thoroughly unprofessional attitudes shown by a now former member of my staff, I have an opening in new accounts, and I am looking for someone who can advise new customers as to the pros and cons of the different types of accounts. You certainly know that information quite well, and in fact quite a lot better than the person who formerly held that position."

Jason was grinning from ear to ear and was actually speechless, which, for Jason, didn't happen very often.

Mr. Carson waved to Tom Richards and went to talk to him about Jason working at the bank.

At the close of the meeting, when Andy asked for announcements, Jason raised his hand.

When he was acknowledged, Jason said, "I had a very successful meeting with the Troop Committee, and they unanimously approved my plan. We raised enough money for ALL of us to go to camp this summer. There is also a great deal of money left over, and that money will all be invested to help us out in the future."

There was a great deal of cheering and a lot of back slapping, and Jason wasn't sure his back was going to survive. He was pretty much the hero to all the Phoenix boys, and they let him get on the bus first for the trip home.

When they arrived back at the Phoenix House, Jason was surprised to see Mr. Carson talking with Mr. Gregory in the downstairs media room. Mr. Gregory waved to Jason, indicating that he should come in. "Jason, I think you know why Mr. Carson is here. I think we have come up with a good plan. In two weeks, you will start on a new schedule. You will work Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday mornings at the Credit Union, and go to school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We will see if your teachers can cope with that. If not, or if you find that you can't keep up, we will have you home schooled here, with Mrs. Gregory. Do you think you can work like that?"

"Sure! You mean I really get to work? Oh, man, this is so kewl!" Jason leaned down and gave John a big hug. That made John feel as if he could get up and dance.

Mr. Carson shook John's hand and then turned to Jason. "Jason, I look forward to seeing you in two weeks. Dress is nice pants--no jeans--a dress shirt, button-down collar with a tie, and nice leather shoes. I'm sure that if you don't have those, Mr. Gregory will get them for you."

"Yes, Sir. Oh, man, I got a JOB!" He shook Mr. Carson's hand and was off to tell his squad.

At Squad Six, all the boys were talking excitedly, and no one seemed to notice Tey, the youngest, just sitting there and trying not to cry. When Jason entered, they were all excited and all trying to talk to him at once. When things settled down some, he told them about his job. Tey got up and ran to his room. Jose, his roommate, said, "What got into Tey?"

Jason motioned for Jose to stay, in the squad room, and he went to the door and tapped. "Tey? It's me, Jason. Can I come in, please?"

He heard a mumbled something, and opened the door a crack, "I'm sorry, Tey, I couldn't hear you."

Tey was on his bed with his head buried in his pillow, crying his heart out. Jason entered, closed and locked the door. He walked over and sat on the edge of the bed then gently rubbed Tey's back. "I don't know what's wrong, Tey. Can you talk to me?"

"I (sob) want (sob) to (sob) go (sob) too."

Jason thought for a minute, then realized that Tey was a second year Webelos and would be joining the troop in about a month. "I'm sure you can go. After all, you helped with the fund raiser. I'll talk to Andy, our SPL, and then to the Committee, and we'll make sure you guys are all covered, too."

Tey looked at Jason and smiled. "Thanks, Jason, we all really want to go. The other guys have been camping and stuff with the troop and will have their Arrow of Light and be bridging up next month. The four of us just joined, and we can't join Boy Scouts until the end of the school year. That's only a few weeks before you guys go to camp."

"Okay, Tey, I see the problem. Tell the others that I will make sure you are all included in the plans. I'll talk to Andy and Mr. Little and be sure it is going to work, somehow. Don't worry."

Tey gave Jason a big hug. "You're the bestest big brother, ever!" Tey then unlocked the door and rejoined the others, with Jason following slowly behind.

The next day, Jason caught up with Andy, Nick and Matt and told them the problem. Nick considered for a minute, then said, "This is a new situation. We have always had the Webelos bridge up in February and that was plenty of time to get them into camp. We also do a lot of pre-summer-camp planning as a troop, and they would miss a lot of that. Even if they aren't official Boy Scouts, we are obviously going to need them to be at the meetings."

Andy had an idea. "Look, the cubs have three den meetings and one Pack meeting a month. How about if they have their Den Meeting on Tuesday Nights, and that way they can participate in the camp preparation things, and the other times they work on earning their pins and Arrow of light. We could help them, so they might actually be able to earn it."

Jason was delighted, "That would work great. Can I tell them?"

Matt answered, "Wait. I'll talk it over with Dad tonight, and I'll call you and let you know."

At seven o'clock, the phone in the Squad 2 main room rang. Aaron, who was sitting beside it, answered. He then handed the phone to Jason. "It's Mr. Little."

Jason: "Hi, Mr. Little."

Mr. Little: "Hello, Jason. Thank you for bringing that problem to our attention. I think the solution you boys came up with is super. I've checked with the second year Webelos leader, and he is delighted with the solution, since his son is bridging up. I will admit that, once again, the youth have come up with a better solution than I would have."

Jason: "Thanks, Mr. Little. Tey is here, jumping up and down. Can I tell him?"

Mr. Little: "How about giving him the phone."

Tey: "Hello?"

Mr. Little: "Hello, Tey. You really have a very good friend there, in Jason. I want to welcome you to Troop 316. I am looking forward to meeting you and going to summer camp with you, this summer."

Tey: "Whoooppppeeeeeee!"

Jason picked up the phone. "Sorry about that, Sir."

Mr. Little: (Chuckling) "No problem, Jason. I'll trust Tey to deliver the message to the others."

Another shout was heard from down the hall.

Jason: "No problem. I think he already has."

* * *

The second meeting in February, the Order of the Arrow election took place. A team from the local OA chapter came to the meeting to conduct the election. They were wearing their white sashes with a red arrow on then. Also, the boys and adults in the troop who were members were wearing their sashes.

The election team explained that the Order of the Arrow was an honor organization for Scouts. It was begun to recognize those Scouts that lived by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. To be eligible, a youth must be currently registered in a unit, have at least the rank of First Class, have fifteen nights of camping in the past two years (at least 5 nights in a long term camp, such as summer camp, and ten nights on over-night or weekend camps.). All the boys in the troop vote on those eligible on the basis of how they are examples of the Scout Oath and Law. To be elected, the candidate must receive votes from more than half of the votes cast.

A lot of the Phoenix boys were uncomfortable, since they didn't know everyone yet. There were seven boys on the ballots: Joey Carson, Brett Henry, Ken Hoagg, John Jones, Eric Lord, Neal Richards, and Mark Stone. The adult who came with the team answered this concern. "You have three choices. If you do not turn in a ballot, that is an abstention and will not hurt anyone. Vote for everyone, which of course helps everyone. Vote for those who you feel represent ideal Scouts and do not vote for those you feel do not live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law, This helps those you vote for and hurts those you don't vote for."

Mr. Little had printed up ballots that were passed out. The boys filled them out, and then the members of the team collected the ballots, then left the meeting room to count the votes. Harvey Pooka, the Committee Chairman, asked Tom, "Were you in the OA as a boy?"

Tom answered, "I was only a Scout for a year, and just made Second Class. I don't remember any of the guys in that troop being in the OA."

"Yeah, only a few of us in my troop joined. I managed to make Brotherhood. I had a great time in the OA. I joined the ceremony team. I think our troop has the highest percentage of active members in the chapter."

Harvey walked over to talk to Mr. Little. The team soon returned and handed Mr. Little a form, and he in return, gave them a paper. The Team thanked the troop and left.

The boys wanted to know who had been elected. Mr. Little grinned, the older troop members recognized his 'Evil Grin,' "Since everyone is going to summer camp we'll just have to wait for the tap-out on Friday night of camp. For those of you on the ballot, there will be an Ordeal that weekend. Talk to a member, and they'll fill you in on what you will need to have ready."

Summer camp planning began that night and patrols worked on tent assignments. The Patrol Leaders were to have a tent to themselves and the rest were two to a tent. Those who had been to camp explained the two-man BSA Wall Tents and the wooden platforms they were set up on to the new boys,

The seven boys, who had been on the ballot, found OA members to ask their questions. Neal cornered Andy and was even more excited by the end of the meeting. He sure hoped he got elected.

* * *

The third Thursday in February Pack 316 had their 'Blue and Gold Dinner.' This is the big event in the Cub Scout year. The boys work hard to earn their rank to be presented at the dinner and this is when the Second Year Webelos bridge-up to the Boy Scout troop. As usual all of them were bridging-up to Troop 316. After eating and clean up, the Court of Honor took place. After the awards and rank advancements, the Boy Scouts entered, carrying a bridge that Samuel had made for this. The Webelos, one at a time, crossed the bridge with their parents and on the far side the parents were asked to remove the boys' Webelos neckerchief. Then Andy Rolyat, the Senior patrol leader of the troop placed a troop neckerchief on the boy, gave him a left handed Boy Scout Handshake and then passed him to Neal Richards and Joey Carson, who both had brothers Bridging-Up. They removed the dark blue Cub Scout shoulder ribbons and replaced them with the red Boy Scout shoulder ribbons (This story takes place before the switch to dark green.) and welcomed him with Boy Scout handshakes. Then Mr. Little shook their hands and presented them with their Boy Scout Handbooks. There were six very proud new Boyscouts.

Mr. Little then called the remaining four Second-Year Webelos up. "These four boys have just joined the pack and have not yet had time to earn their Arrow Of Light. They will be meeting with us and working on their advancement. They will also join the troop before summer camp and will be going with us." There were cheers and clapping. And the meeting was over.

At the Tuesday night Scout meeting, Brian Richards was elected as the 'New Boy' Patrol Leader and he picked Mitch Harris to be his Assistant Patrol Leader. The March camp out was at the local Scout Camp. The Camp Ranger had several service projects for them. He was talking with the adult leaders and was fascinated at the addition of so many older boys. He asked if they had given any thought to attending two weeks of summer camp instead of one. He was thinking that the first week the new guys could do the Baden Powell program then the second week they could do merit badges or High Adventure. He also told them there was a discount for the second week.

At the next troop meeting Mr. Richards asked to speak to the boys after opening. "Boys, I had to act quickly, since yesterday was the deadline for signing up. If you would be interested in two weeks of summer camp instead of just one, let your patrol leaders know. I put us down for the next week after the one we are already signed up for. This will give the boys doing the Baden Powell Program a chance to also work on some merit badges and maybe the High Adventure programs. Talk to your parents. The cost is covered, so it really depends on whether you want to or not."

There were cheers and a room full of excited boys. Mr. Little walked over to Tom. "You signed us up?"

"I had the time to go talk to Mr. Collins. I paid for it and I don't want the troop paying me back. I'm planning on a nice two weeks. Besides Leo will be there all four weeks as the camp medic." Tom explained.

"You'll have to convince Jeff and Harvey." Mike grinned.

"A Scout is thrifty." Tom quoted.

"Jeez, you sound like Neal."

"Hmmm, the pot calling the kettle black."

* * *

The meetings were now concentrating on summer camp. The Phoenix boys were so excited to be able to get the head start with the Baden Powell Program and then be able to earn merit badges. The older boys were considering the Mountain Man High Adventure Program. This was a chance for them to experience some of the ways the early explorers lived about 300 years ago. They would also get to spend some time using the native skills. What really had their attention was learning to use muzzle loading muskets, making their own bows and arrows, and learning hatchet throwing. With all the Phoenix boys going for merit badges the second week, the High Adventure was also going the second week so there would be less strain on the merit badge counsellors. Mr. Richards and Mr. Alexander were interested in this program also, and thought they might be helpful.

The 'New Boy' Patrol became the Owl Patrol and Brian and Mitch were learning leadership as the patrol worked on gaining the skills needed for camping. It was pretty chaotic on the first camping trip, when they had to set up their tents in the dark. The next day, Brian had them empty their tents, and take them down and pack them up. Then they set them up again. It went much better in daylight. He then had them take the tents down again and they did not put them back up until after dark. This time, they didn't have the problems they had the night before. Mr. Little complimented the whole patrol on working together and on how much they had improved. As he walked away, he heard the boys all congratulating Brian on getting them to learn how to set up camp. Mr. Little knew the praise from the boys was a much better reward than praise from him. Brian was on his way.

* * *

There was concern, especially the Phoenix guys, about having enough clothes for two weeks. Mr. Little heard this concern and had to admit he hadn't thought about that. Later, he pulled Andy aside. "How many of these guys know how to run a washing machine?"

"Washing machine? I have no idea," Andy replied.

"I'm thinking they'd better learn. On the Saturday between weeks we can go into town and use the laundromat. I think someone needs to visit it and see what is involved. You know; how much does it cost, how much detergent, what size loads, how long to wash and dry, do we need to go in shifts. That sort of thing." Mr. Little turned and walked away as Andy processed all of that.

At the end of the meeting, Andy asked for the Patrol Leaders to meet for a short PLC (Patrol Leaders' Council). He explained that they needed to figure out the laundry situation and the possible trip to the laundromat.

Jason Kempston, Stag Patrol Leader and Troop Scribe, said, "Phoenix house has a large laundry. We wash all our own clothes every week. Let me check and see if we could use that. The washers are huge, I bet we could do a patrol at a time in each."

Neal Richards, Raccoon Patrol Leader, said, "Yeah, no problem. That would be awesome. It would give you guys a chance to see your squads, too. Some of us could do our stuff at Haven, too, I bet."

Andy grinned. "Okay, you two check on that. We still have time to plan the laundromat if we need to. Report back next meeting."

They broke up and left the church.