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

About Bryan Wendell 3286 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.