When my oldest son was in boy scouts, I learned to appreciate the lessons that the BSA program taught him, and the opportunities to grow and to develop that are inherent in the program. I watched him blossom and gain the confidence that he will need to become a successful man and father. Halfway through his time we had to change troops. His new troop was “cool,” but they did not provide the same experience we had become accustomed to.
One of the things that was lacking was opportunities to recognize the boy’s accomplishments. Boys need that. Another thing that was missing was a vital connection between the boys and the adults and the community. My son was very determined to earn his eagle scout rank, but felt like no one else cared if he did or not. When the time came to carry out his eagle project all of his leaders were mysteriously busy “working” or forgot, and all of the boys told him to his face that it sounded like work and they would rather stay home and play video games. The new troop seemed to take literally the adage that success or failure is up to the boy alone – including all the work, the record keeping and the motivation. I disagree.
My son is a strong young man. He did adjust and was able to successfully complete his project and requirements and earn his eagle. As his parents we decided to make something positive out of the experience that had almost crushed our son. I decided that I would seek out any young man who wanted to grow and progress, and to offer support in any way that I could. My husband and I currently serve in the Cub Scouts, despite the fact that we have no Cub Scouts of our own. I went to the BSA scout office and registered to be a merit badge counselor, and I actively offer my services to both troops and boys. I volunteer at the local community center and help with their merit badge pow-wow’s. I mention these items, not to brag, but to give some ideas of how it is possible to become involved in the scouting movement, and to contribute to society by helping boys grow to become men. This world needs successful, faithful, and confident fathers more than it needs pretty much anything else.
Last night our family was privileged to attend a dual eagle scout court of honor. It was the first eagle court of honor I have known of in our area since my sons over a year ago. The two boys were brothers and friends of our family. We were excited to hear that they had achieved this goal. I had helped them individually with some of their merit badges, and when we found out about their eagle projects we took the opportunity to bring our Cub Scout troop to participate in the service. We appreciated the opportunity they gave us to show the Cubs how eagle projects work – and we needed some service hours anyway. And they appreciated the help as they had the same difficulty in finding people willing to do service.
Last night my husband and I were humbled at the ceremony when we were called out of the audience to be awarded the “Mentor Pin” for significant service along the path to their eagle. We were not expecting that. It was a great feeling to know that our small service meant something to someone else. I think when I look back at my life, it is the small things like this that will make me feel like my life meant something important.
- Stoughton teen earns Eagle Scout rank (enterprisenews.com)
- Teen owl handler honored for Eagle Scout project (bangordailynews.com)
- Adolescence and the Award of Recognition (psychologytoday.com)