Calhoun County Boy Scouts held activities in February to
celebrate the 100th birthday of Boy Scouts of America.
Thousands of boys have joined Boy Scouts in West
Virginia in the past 100 years. Participating in Boy Scouts is a way for
youths to better themselves while serving the community and having fun.
The purpose of Scouting is to provide positive experiences to help young
people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring
Founded by Sir Robert S.S. Baden-Powell, Scouting began
in England in 1907. His book, “Scouting for Boys,” appealed to boys, and
the Scouting program spread around the world. It is the largest
voluntary youth movement in the world, with a membership of more than 25
We found a poem in our files that was written by Jean
Wilson in honor of Harry Holliday, a long-time leader of Calhoun Scouts.
Although it is about Harry, it really pays tribute to the leaders
through the years. They did not give up on the boys, watching with pride
as they matured into men who served our God, country, state, communities
There was a bit of ache in the bones
A touch of dimness in the eyes
That had watched a fifty year parade
Of brown clad boys.
It was a firm hand, though
That buttoned the shirt of his Scout uniform.
It was important to the boys
That he look just right.
As he bent to brush dust from a shoe
A whirl of dizziness straightened him.
Thankfully he could still raise shoe to chair
To make things right.
Hat slanted properly on thinning hair,
Belt in place around a wire thin waist,
Where was his flesh disappearing to?
Never mind, he was ready.
“Good evening, sir,” they yelled (politely)
As they racketed noisily to their seats
Seeing, yet not even knowing they saw,
The uniform he wore.
Seeing on a deeper level
Than even clear eyes could see
The uniform that could not be taken off
Or put back on.
Made from the fabric of reverence, courage,
Loyalty, bravery, helpfulness, cheerfulness,
Woven into the deepest core of him
Yet clear to them.
Until these words, given life by him
Were woven into a thread strong enough
To be used by each boy to fashion
A uniform of his own.
John Holliday, son of Harry (and Kate), passed on a few
memories of his father’s tenure as a leader of Boy Scouts.
Harry, Rymer Law and Grant Beckner were the leaders of
Troop 85, organized about 1945. Calhoun County Bank let them use a
“black hole” in their basement. The boys cleaned the room and put in
light bulbs to make their own retreat.
John also told of the troop camping at Kootaga and Camp
Horseshoe. Harry put side boards on a flatbed oil field truck, loaded
his boys, their packs, bed rolls, camp boxes . . . and off they went,
over the winding roads of West Virginia.
Harry’s last stint as a leader was with Kitty Wilson.
The Historical Society has home movies in their archives of Harry
marching with “our boys.”
My prayer is that the present and future leaders will
give their sons and their friends the opportunities that enriched their
own lives, and are still available through the Scouting program.