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Help other people at all times..

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It's a phrase from my youth. "...to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." If you were ever involved, or perhaps now have a son in ...

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It's a phrase from my youth. "...to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." If you were ever involved, or perhaps now have a son in Boy Scouts, this probably sounds familiar to you.

I rejoined Scouts when I was twelve. I had quit cubs because I hated arts and crafts, but too young to be left alone, I accompanied my parents and my brother Bill to his monthly pack meeting. A young Assistant Scout Master named Doug Davis (I think he was 18) came to the meeting. Doug spoke about canoeing, camping, rifle, archery, and fire building. He explained that Boy Scouts was very different than Cubs, and the kids should join when old enough. I think I made the next meeting.

Through ranks they asked us about the "Scout Oath" and "Scout Law" and what they mean to us. The meaning changed through the years. My first Scout Master, Carl Jones explained that they were both a guide and a goal you never really reached, but helped shape your actions through not only teenage years, but adulthood too. At 14 I didn't get it, but at twenty two it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I became an Assistant Scout Master in Troop 351 at the ripe old age of twenty two. 351 was the troop of my youth, and I am still involved today. I found out as an adult, that all the camping, activities, rank requirements, and leadership positions are often fun ways of teaching really important life lessons. Although collecting wood stunk, there are several lessons to be learned and taught from doing, and getting a bunch of teens to do this menial task.

Living these concepts in an adult world seemed impossible in my early adult days. I couldn't see how much of it applied to my life. At 18 I became a volunteer firefighter. At 21, I spent 5 years with NYC*EMS, which is now part of FDNY. When I started my apprenticeship as a dog trainer, I felt guilty that I wasn't helping people. I really felt I was abandoning the principles instilled from my youth. That concept is almost laughable now.

Our "lifetime" training program and a strong attempt to create personal relationships with our clients had consequences I couldn't foresee. We keep dogs from jumping while Mom and Dad are enduring a nail biting high risk pregnancy. We help dogs adjust to their new baby brother or sister that Mom just brought home. We get called to help go to the Vet and comfort someone when their old /sick dog must finally be put to sleep. Emergency boarding, training service/assistance dogs, companion dogs, also make the list of things we've done without financial benefit. One of our clients just put together a therapy dog program for those who want to spread the joy of their dog to people stuck in nursing homes. She supplies the activity organization; we'll supply the additional training to our clients. The very first week they did it, they were greeted by a line of people in wheelchairs who wanted to see the dogs.

When a company gets to a size and/or skill level that is above average, I feel the people in that company have a social responsibility to help others with that skill. It's my commitment to continue doing this for years to come. The more we grow, the bigger our responsibility to society.

For those that never heard it, or some that may have forgotten it, here's the Oath and Law.

The Oath
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

The Law
A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Have a great week,

Frank Bonomo