by Dennis Dalman
From his years of being a Boy Scoutmaster, Steve Bogie of Rice has learned young kids will do the right thing with a little guidance and a lot of faith.
Years ago, one of his young scouts was cutting down a young tree on a camp-out. Bogie gently but firmly told him to stop it and why he should leave the tree alone. The scout, a bit abashed and embarrassed, stopped.
Two years passed. On another camp-out, another young kid started doing the same thing – chopping down a too-young tree. Bogie was impressed and pleased when he saw a boy walk over to the scout and tell him, “Please don’t cut down that tree; it’s too young.” That boy who gave the good advice was the same one Bogie had gently chastised two years earlier.
That’s just one example of how adults, Bogie said, too often think kids aren’t listening.
“But then you turn around later and, by golly, you find out they were listening, after all,” he said. “I enjoy scouting most of all because it seems like boys listen to me even if it seems sometimes like they’re not listening to their own parents.”
Bogie is scoutmaster for 11 boys, all from Rice, ages 12-16, members of Rice Troop 473. About 15 years ago, Bogie decided to chip in and help out the scouting effort in Rice, where he has lived since 1977. He has been scoutmaster since 2005.
“We moved here to get out of St. Cloud,” he said. “I don’t like big towns.”
Rice Troop 473, founded way back in the 1950s, tries to stay busy year-round with various projects and good deeds. Its members, Bogie said, are a great bunch of boys who give scouting their all. All of the last four troops to graduate from high school in recent years had gained the prestigious status as Eagle Scouts: Matt Skoczen, whose project was a blood drive in St. Cloud; Kevin Kruger, who did lakeshore planting on Little Rock Lake near Rice; Jeffrey Kubat, who built wood-duck houses and other birdhouses for the Bend in the River Park south of Rice; and Mark Kruger (brother of Kevin), who loaded huge trucks with mercy supplies bound for Central America.
Scouting in Rice seems to be a generational thing, Bogie said, with good kids keeping it going, not to mention the hard work of fundraising. Just about everybody in the Rice area, at one time or another, has enjoyed the scouts’ barbecued pork chops during their fundraisers, such as at the Rice Family Fun Days. They also sell Christmas wreathes. Throughout the year the scouts do various fundraisers, a necessity because, as Bogie pointed out, some funding sources have dried up due to the ongoing controversy of the Boy Scouts organization in regard to gay scouts and gay scout leaders. Although the organization has altered its policy in recent years, some previous funding sources still object to the policy, wanting it to be more universally inclusive than it is for all Scouts and all potential Scouting leaders.
The Rice Scouts have worked so hard at fundraising, they have already raised enough to pay for everyone’s stay at next summer’s Many Point Scout Reservation northwest of Park Rapids, where they attend classes and do a lot of physical activities, such as wall-climbing, swimming, canoeing and more fun-learning activities for one week.
Born in Glenwood, Bogie joined the scouts when he was 11.
“We did a lot of camping on our own,” he recalled. “We’d pitch our tents in some pasture if we wanted. We’d swim, fish and canoe on Lake Minnewaska. We had a lot of fun, and we didn’t do any mischief.”
After high-school graduation in Glenwood, Bogie moved to St. Cloud in 1960 and enrolled in St. Cloud State University. That is where he met the love of his life, Becky, a student from Stillwater who was studying elementary education. They married and eventually had two daughters: Jennifer Harrell, who now lives in Pittsburgh, Penn. and works for Trader Joe’s food-store chain; and Jessica Okstad of North Branch, who works for the postal service for the City of Isanti.
Becky and Steve have two grandchildren.
Steve was employed for three decades by Northwestern Bell telephone company, based in St. Cloud, a company that went through so many name changes and metamorphoses through the years.
Becky worked as a teacher for 34 years, with 24 of those years as a kindergarten teacher in Rice Elementary School and a couple of years in various Sauk Rapids schools.
Scouting has definitely changed through the years, Bogie noted.
“Technology took over too much, that’s my opinion,” he said. “There are so many more things outside of scouting to keep people occupied. There are more sports now and extracurricular activities of every kind. Kids aren’t so much into the do-it-yourself stuff like they used to be. Too many things are now readily available, so there is less resourcefulness.”
Bogie recalled how when he and fellow scouts were boys they created makeshift stoves using big Hi-C juice cans with smaller cans secured inside them.
“Now they just go buy stoves,” Bogie said. “I guess they have to. They don’t make those Hi-C juice cans anymore. Yes, it’s a different world now, but kids are still nice. You give them an opportunity, and they’ll cooperate and they’ll behave and do lots of good things.”
Some adults, Bogie said with irony in his voice, could learn a lot of lessons in kindness and courtesy from Boy Scouts – like the kinds of adults who drive like careless maniacs on Hwy. 10 near Rice.
“Scouting is still interesting, challenging and fun for me,” Bogie said. “We could always use more scouts. It’s a great organization.”
The Rice Boy Scouts meet at the Old Village Hall on Rice’s Main Street from 7-8:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. Prospective scouts and their parents can just show up at a meeting if they’re thinking of perhaps joining. Scouts must be 11-1/2 years old up to 18 years old.
Since scouts have to raise their own personal money for projects and trips, contributions are always welcome, Bogie noted. They can be sent to Central Minnesota Boy Scouts Council, 1191 Scout Drive, Sartell, Minn. 56377.