Will J. Reid Scout Camp is located right in the middle of Long Beach, and is a place that, at times, has seemed like a second home to me and many in scouting families. I've been there for cub scout events, boy scout events, adult leader training, and we've even had our annual church picnic there.
Well, the Long Beach Area Council now wants to sell the camp. Like many non-profits, the scouts are hurting for money. Will J. Reid, covering some 11 acres, is worth quite a lot of money, but it also costs quite a bit to maintain, and the council believes that it could make better use of its money.
This is disappointing to many in the Long Beach scouting community. However, as one who has been the pastor of several smaller churches, I can't criticize. I know that the decision (has it already been made? I'm not sure) won't be easy. And I know from experience that it's too tempting to place too high a priority on things like buildings and property. At a former church of mine, when struggling with finances, I had one cantankerous church member say to me that if finances forced him to choose between a building and a pastor, he'd choose the building. I looked right at him and said, "Well, then, when you face a spiritual crisis in your life, or when you find yourself in intensive care, I'll be sure to rip up one of the floorboards and mail it to you."
OK, I didn't really say that. At least not out loud.
I think of the difficult decisions that the Long Beach School Board has had to make regarding layoffs and furloughs. Surely, making those decisions couldn't have been easy. I'm glad I'm not the one who had to make those decisions.
I heard on NPR this morning that the economy is turning around. Well, that sounds like good news, but I know that for many of us, we will still be faced with difficult decisions for some time to come. I don't know if selling Will J. Reid is the right thing to do. But I have compassion and understanding for those who have to make the decision.
Photo: Tristan at last fall's "Cub-o-ree" event at Will J. Reid Scout Camp