|Ron and Quinn Bourret
I'd just like to say thanks to Jim and all the others who put so much
work into this reunion. It
was an amazing weekend.
I arrived Saturday at noon, fresh off a flight from Europe with my
four-year-old son Quinn.
After a month on the road, I wasn't expecting
much enthusiasm from him and didn't get it: "Daddy? I just want to play
We turned onto Palo Colorado Road and started winding through the
redwoods. At a blind corner, a white,
four-wheel drive pickup confronted
us head on, then darted off the road and around a redwood tree. A local,
Between the Hoist and Bottcher's, we saw a red fox and two
deer. Quinn missed the fox but saw the deer.
As we went
through the gate and down the dirt road toward camp, he
asked, "Are we allowed to?"
Boy Scouts are allowed here and we're going to the Boy Scout Camp."
"I don't want to be a Boy Scout! I want to be a
Girl Scout." His older
sister is a Daisy, so it's what he knows.
He didn't like the bumpy road
and said so. Then we picked up the dust
from another car and he got more interested. Finally, "I see it, Daddy!
We pulled into the parking lot behind Kevin Jordan and his daughter
Andrea. They were there for the afternoon
only -- Kevin was in the
orchestra for a musical at MPC and had to return that night. Like a lot
of us, he wanted to
show Pico to his kids.
Quinn was shy with Kevin, but that was nothing compared to walking into
the dining hall at
the tail end of lunch. There must have been a hundred
people there, not the thirty or forty I'd expected. Quinn took one
at this and said, "Daddy, I want to go home." I did what any responsible
parent would do and bribed him with potato
chips and marshmallow treats.
We sat next to Art Long and two of his four kids.
After the lunch speakers -- in all
honesty, I only remember the one
about how eye-opening it is to attend a World Jamboree, as I'd had the
myself 30+ years ago -- it was time to chat. I talked to
Scott Caldwell who, it turns out, lives just up the street from
Kuska, and the new scoutmaster for my old troop.
Quinn was patient with Daddy, but eventually wanted to
"go camping". I
let him -- Council staff please avert your eyes -- steer the car on the
way back to Blackfoot and we
set up the tent, then we sat around a bit
and let the gnats pester us.
The afternoon program included a Brotherhood
walk (nine new Brotherhood
members), a nature walk, rifle and shotgun shooting ("Daddy? What's a
shotgun? Uh-huh, uh-huh,
uh-huh. Are they bad guys?"), archery ("You
know that thing cupid has? That's a bow and arrow. But we don't shoot
with it."), and the waterfront. We opted for the rowboats.
Later in the afternoon, we wandered downstream from Cayuse,
the nature walk as it passed through the Scoutcraft area. We managed to
get as far as the parking lot, but
the shotgun blasts deferred further
progress. ("Are you sure they aren't bad guys?")
Dinner was amazing. Somebody
had convinced Mission Linen to donate red
and white table cloths and linen napkins, and everybody had a place mat
a color print-out of a different lodge flap. Dinner itself was
ribs, salad, corn bread, and beans, with brownies for dessert.
program included the national director for camping and conservation,
who spoke about the various programs that are being
developed at the
Quinn fell asleep after dinner and I carried him back to the campsite,
told him we were going to a campfire with Indians. One never knows
how a jet-lagged four-year-old is going to react, but
he seemed game.
The campfire was simply a lot of fun. I was wondering if it would feel
juvenile to a 48-year-old
(me), but I'm happy to say that the skits were
in the best Henny Youngman / Bob Hope tradition: clean, corny,
and good fun. I laughed, Quinn laughed, and he even was able
to repeat lines from one of the skits the next day. It ended
with the OA
The next morning we had a breakfast of French toast and breakfast
burritos, then packed up
the car and headed home. I asked Quinn if he
liked camping at Pico Blanco and he got a big smile on his face.
me, I think that summed up the weekend. It was simply great to be
back in Pico, meet old friends, and enjoy the Scouting
was never very active in the Order of the Arrow, but being on Pico staff
was one of the formative events
of my life: I met my best friends there
and learned many of the skills I took out into the real world.
On a final
note, I was happy to see that there were a lot of women in
attendance, most in uniform. I don't know if the BSA has lightened
their attitudes, but I can only hope that's the case. Maybe then I can
convince my daughter to join the Boy Scouts