Photo: The Rev. Steve Hickle presents New Testaments with Psalms and Proverbs to Scouts attending a worship service at the base camp of the Philmont Scout Ranch.
CIMMARRON, N.M. –– The Rev. Steve Hickle, pastor of Fairmont UMC in Raleigh, N.C., served as a summer chaplain at the Philmont Scout Ranch. He distributed “Trail Bibles” to Scouts attending base camp worship services prior to their treks across 214 square miles of wilderness.
This summer, the Bibles were a special edition commemorating 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America.
“My Dad went there in 1953 to do leader training called Wood Badge, so from age 3, I grew up on stories of Philmont, including a horse named Banjo. At age 16, we were able to go together. I returned in 1995 as an adviser, and in 1996, and 2001 I returned with my son, Jesse, first as Scout, then also as adviser.”
Hickle spent the summer of 2002 as a Philmont chaplain and returned again for a month in 2010.
As chaplain, Hickle conducts nightly Protestant worship services at base camp. At the close of each service, chaplains announce the availability of Bibles. Often, the message includes the source of the gift, United Methodist Men and United Methodist Scouters. “Those sharing our denominational DNA are always pleased to hear that,” says Hickle.
When the service ends, Scouts rush forward to receive their gift Bibles. “It’s fun to watch them ‘palm’ the Bibles, as if gauging the weight the 3-ounce Bible will add to their packs,” says Hickle.