By Don McAlavy: CNJ Columnist
A Lone Scout, they tell me, is a Boy Scout without a troop or a troop leader. I didn’t know about the Lone Scout program until I met a Lone Scout who has been living in Clovis a long time. He was Sam Covington, who reached the age of 93, and passed away in Logan on Thanksgiving Day.
This is his story. He told me about it along time ago.
“I was born in Okolona, Ark., on Oct. 31, 1915,” said Covington, “a few miles southeast of Delight, which is not too far from Arkadelphia. It is sort of in the Southwest part of that state.
“When I was big enough to do chores my father put me to work. I was a good worker and liked being out-of-doors. We have trees and hills down there, nothing like Clovis.
“I was about 11 or 12 and had subscribed to the Boy Scouts magazine. A Lone Scout program was described in it that permitted rural boys who were isolated to become Lone Scouts. We were isolated and you could say we were rural.
“I knew that Boy Scouting had begun in Great Britain in 1910. This Lone Scout program had begun in 1915. It and the Boy Scouts were separate programs at first. A man by the name of William Boyce had started the Boy Scout movement in America and also started the Lone Scout program. I filled out a membership form, sent it in, and was accepted to be a Lone Scout.
“I was told an adult over 21 — and it had to be a man — had to be my supervisor. My father became my substitute scout master. He bought me a Lone Scout uniform as the Lone Scout magazine said it would give me a feeling of belonging. The other kids in the small town kidded me some about that uniform, but I was proud of it.
“The symbol of Lone Scouts was a solitary Indian with arms outstretched, palms down, in a gesture of peace.
“I think my dues were 50 cents a year. I studied Indian lore, learned how to be independent and self-reliant and ‘do a useful thing each day.’ I relied solely on the honor system and followed the basic advancement program that the regular Boy Scouts had: