Isaac Frey – “Cheyah” (2017)

I’d like now for Isaac Frey to come forward.

Isaac has been with us for four years and has served in a variety of leadership roles, starting out as a quartermaster, then becoming chaplain’s aide, then secretary and finally president last year, before finishing this year as a crew guide.

He received the Spirit of Venturing Award in 2014 and is known in the crew as one of our most honest, creative, energetic, enthusiastic and funniest members.  He’s genuinely one of the nicest young men I have ever met and happiness surrounds him.

He’s also one of the most entertaining crew members any of the adults have ever seen.

Where to begin?

I have to tell you that among the many endearing qualities of Isaac is that he knows who Christopher Walken is.  Not many youth do.  In fact, he not only knows who he is he also does a great impression of him.  That alone has earned him respect from me since I am a huge Christopher Walken fan.

Isaac’s Christopher Walken appeared at random times, such as rafting down the Nulichucky River several years ago.  He kept Mr. Young and I quite amused in our raft.  And he kept the whole crew amused that night around the campfire.

When I first talked to Isaac about being Chaplain’s Aide, I asked him what he would be comfortable with, since not everyone who takes that job wants to do devotions.  He very nonchalantly told me he would do them and it was no big deal.  And that confidence and spirit are reflected in everything he does with the crew, even when he has doubts.

I remember our show and tell in 2014 year.  Isaac did a film about himself.  That takes a lot of confidence and a lot of spirit.  He has a special self-deprecating sense of humor, willing to poke fun at himself.

Which helps when the adults also poke fun at him, like the time he set up his tent a few years ago on the raft trip.  He kept finding distractions after laying out his tent and never really got it off the ground before deciding to take a shower.  He loves showers.

When he left, Mr. Harrison folded up the tent and put it back in its case, then had fun when a befuddled Isaac came back and wondered if his mind was playing tricks on him.

Or the time last year when Isaac fell asleep in the shower during the raft trip.  One moment he was studying a spider, he said, the next he was asleep.  For a while.  Somewhere along the way he lost his underwear.

One of the great things about Isaac is that he truly cares about people.

Last year, he stepped forward to become president and had a lot of doubts.  It wasn’t an easy year.  While he had several former presidents in the crew to offer advice, there is no feeling of loneliness like being at the top of an organization.  Every president can relate.

But he tackled the job and agreed to keep serving way beyond the end of his term to give the crew some continuity for new members.

He also had doubts about whether he could survive our backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail last summer.  His name by the way – Cookie Butter – refers to an ingredient he forgot to bring.  But he completed the trek and I believe that boosted his confidence, as it should have.

When it came time to name him, I thought of the names others had given him over the years, such as Golden Retriever, for his blond locks and his happy nature.

But one animal name by the Cherokee stood out.  It happens to be my favorite animal, actually, because it not only loves water but also seems to be having fun every minute of every day.  It likes to lay on its back in water, somewhat reminiscent, Mr. Harrison says, of the time Isaac was on his back playing in a pool on the Badlands trip two summers ago.

These animals are revered by Native Americans, who see them as clever and creative creatures.  They are one of the few that use tools.

In fact, we saw this animal on our recent raft trip.

So it is my honor tonight Isaac, to award you the Cherokee name Cheyah, which means Otter.


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