Boy Scout Troop 411
Posted February 22, 2007
I'm 11 years old and belong to Boy Scout Troop 411, also known as the Hare Krishna Boy Scout Troop. Our troop is located in Prabhupada Village, North Carolina. There are ten scouts in our troop: Ramananada, Narada, Murari, Vrindavana, Janardan, Abhay, Vishvambhara, Gopal, Govinda and me.
Some of the skills our troop learns are first aid, citizenship, how to
plan and organize a camp-out, how to set up a campsite and how to cook
prasadam. Scouts must learn some of these things and more to get the
rank position of an Eagle scout or to earn recognition such as bronze,
gold and silver palm awards.
An Eagle scout has a great chance at getting a good job, because Eagles learn how to lead and encourage. All the things that I have learned and will learn are helping me now and will help me later in life. Srila Prabhupada wanted us to be good leaders and examples in society. Being a Hare Krishna boy scout and Eagle scout helps us to achieve these goals, as well as to please Prabhupada and Krishna.
Our scout troop has had three Eagle scouts so far. To become an Eagle
scout one has to earn twelve specific badges and ten others, and must
perform a special project for the community. Radheya, son of
Parama-rupa das and Jagatkarana dasi prabhus, built the benches at our
temple. Haridas, son of Madhuha das and Bhagavati dasi prabhus, built
the playground for the temple, and Ramai, son of Ekanatha das and Asta
Sakhi dasi prabhus, built stairs and a walkway leading to the temple. I
plan on making a bridge across the river close to the temple, or maybe
a fountain in front of the temple.
Boy scouts follow the "Scout Law", which relates partly to the 26 qualities of a devotee. A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. While a pure devotee is without possessions, a scout must own a Scout Handbook and first aid kit. There are also rules such as no drugs, not swearing, not being rude, etc. As scouts we are also learning to help each other work as a team and to join our ideas together. As devotees we're also supposed to do this. Prabhupada said if we wanted to please him we should cooperate together.
Parama-rupa prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, is our scoutmaster. He likes us to call him "P.R." He works at the Prabhupada Archives, and is the narrator for lots of Prabhupada's CDs and MP3s. Our scout meetings are held in the building next to the Archives. "P.R." teaches us scout history, how to fold and pack tents, and how to tie knots. Most importantly, he teaches us how to teach others. Scouts always have to teach others. I get to teach a couple of my friends. Learning to teach is very important. It can help us and others throughout our lives. Someday I might teach Krishna conscious verses to others or teach others about Krishna.
"P.R." makes our camp-outs fun. He also plays board games with us. What I like best about "P.R." is that he is like a kid himself; I hope he never grows up. He also has the most kind and loving dog I've ever met. Her name is Sunny, and she loves carob-cake prasad.
Our troop also adopted a road. On the road is a sign that says: "Adopt a Road -- Hare Krishna Boy Scout Troop 411." We help keep the road clean with regular trash cleanups. The adoption was for keeping our community clean and in good condition. Scouts are meant to help both devotees and non-devotees.
Our scout troop follows Ekadasi. On Ekadasi camp-outs we make curd subji and eat potato chips. In scouts there is a position called "chaplain aide." My friend Vishvambhara is our chaplain aide. He is the one who blesses or offers the food. What I like best about scouts is the prasadam -- especially "chip buddies", which is bread and butter with fries ("chips," as "P.R." calls them), ketchup and hot sauce, and ice cream, which we make in a plastic bag. I also like the night games. When we play hide and seek, "P.R." is impossible to hide from because he has Sunny with him. Then there's the board games. My favorite is "Trouble;" it's similar to Parcheesi, but easier.
All in all, our scout troop has been very helpful in keeping us engaged and helpful to Prabhupada Village, our local Hare Krishna community.