Mrs. Debbie Brady – “Wanageeska” (2007)

Next, I’d like to call forward Mrs. Debbie Brady.

Now i get asked all the time about her name and since this is a naming ceremony, we should probably address that. From time to time one of our youth will privately ask me if she and Brice’s father aren’t together anymore because their names are different. Her last name is Brady because she didn’t want to always be described as Debbie Reynolds, like the movie star. For those of you who have never heard of Debbie Reynolds, well you just have to trust us on this one.

Debbie has been our crew secretary and an active committee member for several years. But more than that, she has been an active chaperone. She’s also the mother of two of our crew members, Caleb and Brice, both current or past officers.

I’ve always prized Debbie’s abilities in working with youth. She has lots of practice in it, not only being a mom but also a longtime speech therapist and teacher. She is patient, open-minded, friendly, always someone any of the youth could talk to about a problem. She is very loved by the youth who meet her.

And she is an advisors’ dream because she enjoys the outdoors. Her idea of a perfect mother’s day is backpacking the Appalachian trail, of which she has logged many miles. And she is willing to share her knowledge. She has instructed the crew on backpacking.

But what the youth love about her is that she is so approachable. We used to have a member named Leo, who was a very unique individual. He was born to a Spanish father and a Swiss mom and spoke fluent french. One camp out Debbie wanted to write a letter in french to friends in her son’s french exchange program. So she consulted Leo, who i think was never as happy as that weekend because he was being asked to share his knowledge. Of course, Leo in return had lots of interesting questions for Debbie and she patiently addressed each one.

Now her sons will tell you that Debbie exaggerates sometimes in recalling past outdoor events, especially those involving family camping expeditions. The truth is that Debbie is an excellent storyteller. No doubt Brice’s acting ability springs from her talents.

So there were lots of naming possibilities for her, starting with mother. But in researching names for her i ran across an interesting piece of Indian culture. Native Americans revered the land and looked at its connections with people and with the seasons of the year. And they also believed that each direction from them had a sacred meaning, tied to a season. East for instance, was the color red, which symbolized spring and victory. South equals the color white, representing summer and peace and happiness.

So it is my honor to award you the Sioux name Wanageeska, which means white spirit, for the peace and happiness you have brought to countless youth.


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