Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994 Page: 16
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Never Give Up
By Grant Breithaupt
Illustration by Joe Snyder
WHEN I JOINED TROOP
840 in October, 1991, it was
a troop in transition. The
Scoutmaster and other
adult leaders had left or were leaving
and the older Scouts were losing in-
terest in troop activities.
Eleven other boys followed me into
the troop, swelling the ranks to more
than 40 members. But the troop lack-
ed a key ingredient from the older
boy leaders ("middle leadership," my
father called it), and our fall meetings
The troop did have some
eluding a fractured leg and pelvis, in a
fall from the roof of his house as he set
up Christmas lights. He faced a long
period of recuperation and physical
therapy, and everyone wondered if
we could carry out the
bike trip without his ex-
Blair Bishop, a 16-
year-old Eagle Scout
who was one of those
older boys who had be-
come semi-active in the
troop, was our only
Scout with any long-
Inspired by the
courage of an adult
leader, a Scout from
a troop in transition
lessons in growth
during a 186-mile
mishaps, we all finished in good shape,
brimming with confidence for the
challenge of the canal trek.
At a court of honor in mid-March,
Mr. Rumple was addressing the Scouts
and their families when he suddenly
stopped talking. Everyone turned to
see Mr. Males entering the church
basement, using a metal walker and
assisted by his wife and son. He was
only able to take a few short steps
and had trouble staying upright, but
his courage impressed everyone. The
audience stood as one and applauded.
I decided then and there (as did
many other Scouts) to
make the canal bike trip,
no matter what.
The trip was sched-
uled over two May week-
ends. We covered 90 miles
during the first two
days, gaining a lot of ex-
perience and confidence.
I was looking forward
good things going for it
Tom Rumple, the enthusiastic new
Scoutmaster, was an Eagle Scout who
urged "getting back to basics" and a
schedule containing plenty of fun ac-
We also had a veteran assistant
Scoutmaster, Jerry Males, an avid
outdoorsman and bicyclist. He had
suggested a major activity which the
troop had scheduled for the coming
spring: a bicycle trip covering all 186
miles of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
Early in December, however, Mr.
Males suffered critical injuries, in-
distance bicycling experience. When
he realized the trip might not take
place without Mr. Males, he volun-
teered to take charge of the activity.
After several troop meetings with
Blair conducting classes on "bicycle
repair" and "how to fix a flat" we
younger Scouts began to realize how
much of a challenge the canal trip
would be. I wondered if I could make
it all the way, and worried about the
humiliation of failing in front of my
In February we conducted a 25-mile
tuneup ride, along the Mount Vernon
trail in Virginia. In spite of a few minor
to the second weekend, having ar-
ranged to miss a key baseball playoff
game when the coach assured me the
team had enough players to handle
the competition without me.
We covered 47 miles on the second
Saturday, arriving at our campsite
early in the afternoon. From there,
my father called home to check on the
family, and then came over to talk
with me. The baseball coach had called,
he said, and the team needed me be-
cause two key players had been un-
able to play at the last minute.
I hated to leave the troop, but I had
made a com- (continued on page 5J,\)
Scouting March-April 1994
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 82, Number 2, March-April 1994, periodical, March 1994; Irving, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353616/m1/16/: accessed January 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.