Three Philmont treks, two Isle Royale treks, Yellowstone, Adirondacks, UK, and twice to Tanzania. One of our shakedowns was a trek in itself, to Cumberland Gap. We have camped and hiked on three continents.
Ten Bronze Awards, four Gold Awards, four Silvers, two Rangers. Two Good Samaritans, two Torches, a Cross & Flame. Five Bishop's Awards of Excellence (if you count in our predecessor Post's BAE). Ten God & Country awards (that I've counseled -- there have been plenty earned with other counselors). Mission projects, devotions, prayer in emergencies, communion at night in the mountains. Leading worship, leading missions education.
And all that way, we went at the pace of the slowest hiker, we accepted each eccentric just the way he or she was, we let everybody be important, we laughed and loved and sang and joked and played cards and did it all for a modest price (with help if even that was too much). We have set a mark I have never seen matched by another Venture Crew.
Forty-five youth and adults have participated in our summer treks. Several others have participated in other Crew activities. I am so blessed to have been their Advisor. I love them all.
When we return from Africa, just before collinsmom and I move from Tanner Valley to Yonder, we will hold our traditional photo party. We're calling it "The Last Hurrah" this year: after two rebirths of the Crew after almost disbanding, I think this is really the end of the trail. I want to propose a toast and have us sing Auld Lang Syne, and that will be it.
Anyway, I was thinking over all this, and the closing lines of Taliessin at Lancelot's Mass came to mind:
That which had been Taliessin rose in the rood;
in the house of Galahad over the altar he stood,
manacled by the web, in the web made free;
there was no capable song for the joy in me:
joy to new joy piercing from paths foregone;
that which had been Taliessin made joy to a Joy unknown;
manifest Joy speeding in a Joy unmanifest.
Lancelot's voice below sang: Ite; missa est.
Fast to the Byzantine harbor gather the salvaged sails;
that which was once Taliessin rides to the barrows of Wales
up the vales of the Wye; if skill be of work or of will
in the dispersed homes of the household, let the Company pray for it still.