Powerful musical tribute shows the lasting impact of a quality leader

It doesn’t take much for you, a Scout leader, to have a profound impact on the life of a young person.

Put another way: “The smallest gesture can spark a life.”

In the case of Cub Scout leader and Nashville singer-songwriter Dean Madonia, that leader was a Scoutmaster named Ernest.

Ernest was so special to Madonia that the musician was inspired to write a moving song about the man. It’s called “Doesn’t Take Much Light (To Shine in the Dark),” and it’s written by Dean Madonia and David G Smith.

Watch the song performed by David G Smith below. It’s a reminder that the impact of a quality Scout leader can last a lifetime.

“Doesn’t Take Much Light” Lyrics

I got permission from David to post the lyrics:

Doesn’t Take Much Light ©Dean Madonia/Soft Monkey Music/ASCAP; David G Smith/Alrose/BMI

Called my old scoutmaster Ernest J out of the blue
His wife said he’s having a bad day _he’ll be glad to hear from you
Ernest J came on the line _and I talked about
Me growing up poor_ and not having my dad around

I figured out where the money came for summer camp
Because of you those were some of the best days I ever had
I haven’t forgotten and I wanted to tell you that
It’s why I called

The smal-lest gesture can spark a life
Kin-dle the courage to fight the good fight
To get the picture look up at any star
It doesn’t take much light / to shine in the dark

Ernest J your wife tells me you’re not feeling well because
You’ve got something doctors think is Parkinson’s
Yeah, he said, I’ve had it for a few years it’s been rough (like they say)
Some days you’re the windshield__ Some days you’re the bug
Some days I can take it__ Some days not so much

Sometimes I tell myself I’m gonna win
Sometimes I just wanna toss the towel in
On days like today it’s good to get help to
Remind me who I am


Hey Ernest J I’m meeting with my scouts tonight
Gonna set up a telescope and point it at the sky
Put it into focus
Gonna tell em what you always told us