January Ruminations

Alaska Airlines has always been a big supporter of the Chief Seattle Council as well as the BSA partly because the company embraces the values that the Boy Scouts stand for and as a result, the caliber of youth that come from the program.  I was disappointed though when I learned today that the company has decided to stop printing its small "prayer" cards that accompany the food which is served in first class.  These cards are usually one line items which are taken from the book of Psalms and do have the tendency to lean more towards the Christian faith than not.  This has generated some discussions (at times vehement ones) from their passengers about the purpose and appropriateness of these cards.  When they instituted this program many years ago (20-30 years I believe) it was based on an idea they found from another airline and they thought it was a good idea.  I personally thought it was a nice touch and I am surprised by some of the negative reactions to that little card.  That being said, the airline is a company that wishes to serve all and although they have the "right" to put out prayer cards they also wish to respect those who either have separate religious feelings or are either agnostic or atheistic and are offended by their presence.  I can certainly understand their position as a) it will reduce some complaints, b)  I doubt those who like the cards will be as vehement at their absence as those who were opposed of their presence and c) it probably will reduce some expense.  For me, it really does not bother me one way or the other as although I thought they were a nice touch didn't really "move" me in any inspirational way.

All that being said, I am not a "bible thumper" in any way.  Even though I am part of an organized religion I do have concerns about "institutionalized" religion.  Any bureaucracy (including churches) are always fraught with human frailty.  I know many "Christians" who have performed un-christian acts as I have observed agnostics be more "Christian" in their daily activities.  This is not to be at odds with other religions outside of Christianity mind you.  Simply put, going to a church doesn't make you any more of a Christian (or any other religion) than going to a garage makes you a mechanic.

What was that saying?  Never bring up religion or politics in polite conversation.......

Camp has endured a fairly chilly period of time this past week.  Ken was telling me that he was keeping his eyes on a couple of potential "problem" trees that were beginning to bend with the snow and ice.  I often wonder if that was akin to watching "problem" scouts.  They bend the wrong way when influenced by an outside malicious force and if they break under that strain, much like ice and snow on a large branch, they can cause expensive and possibly even irreparable damage.  The problem is that you can take out problem trees.........that's not always the case for problem scouts.  I guess one involves a chainsaw, the other is sending them out of camp.  Not sure which one is for which though.

For all of you following the ongoing saga regarding Mystery Beach Cabin; well there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that the cabin will be saved, the bad news is that it will no longer house staff under the age of 21.....indeed, it may well be designated as the commissioner cabin.  The renovation schedule is set; the cabin has already been "gutted" and the plans call for a separate room for a shower and another for a toilet and sink.  There will be three single bedrooms and a smaller "living" area than there was before.  The cabin will be insulated and is planned for year round use.  That latter part is good news as it gives us more options down the road when we have our new dining hall.  So, like many of you, I have spent years in MBC and I am sad to see it change (again) into something else but I am happy that it will be renovated and more importantly....taken care of.  We have a new housing strategy coming up which is being designed around several things to include: a) doors not being kicked in, b) holes not magically appearing in the wall, c) no graffiti showing up on walls, d) bathroom facilities that remain clean.  Impossible you say?  Probably, but we will give it a shot.  Hey, if I have to pick between two evils then I am picking the one I have never tried before.

Work continues on the new dining hall but the money is not there.  We continue collecting small donations but we haven't reached the mark yet at which we can begin with abandon.  As each week passes, it is unlikely we will see a new dining hall now until 2014.  That is fine, we can adapt and overcome as we have these past years....after all, the current building does have some character......it is just that we don't want it to become a "character".