When Juan Jose was ten, he was dumped in the Brule River not once, but twice when I was at the helm of our canoe. Without help from strangers, we would not have made it to the landing.
He’s almost 14, and he recently completed a comprehensive water-based safety course that involved practicing self-rescue and rescuing other kayakers with his Boy Scout troop in Lake Superior. These are necessary skills for the wilderness cold water kayaking that he’ll be doing in Alaska with the Scouts this August.
Juan didn’t join Scouts to learn how to navigate water. He joined Scouts to learn what his two moms and sister couldn’t teach him.
I became a Cub Scout leader by default. He wouldn’t let me drop him off while I ran errands for an hour.
When it was time for him to cross over to Boy Scouts, he decided to stay in scouting. This surprised me. I was preparing myself for a free evening. Instead, I trained to be an assistant Boy Scout leader. He still wasn’t ready for a parent to drop and run.
Juan was pulling away from me though. I no longer went to all of his campouts. When I did go, he was caught up in the flow of scouts running from one event to another.
Today, he completed his Eagle Scout project in Guatemala. He raised funds for children to receive dental care, and he collected over 130 lbs. of toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and dental supplies .
The money he raised enabled 14 dental cleanings, 34 extractions, 31 fillings, and 28 sealants. Care that these children would not have received otherwise.
He gave one suitcase of dental supplies to the dentist and a suitcase of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to De Familia a Familia. This organization is a link between birth and adoptive families. They have over 260 families that they are currently working with.
Juan couldn’t have done this project without help from relatives, friends, neighbors, and strangers.
And, his two moms and sister.
Because of all of us, he’s learned to navigate waters and to pull himself back into his kayak.