Sunday, June 27, 2010

Becoming an Important Part of the Eagle Trail

When I was asked by Chris, the Scout Troop Committee Chairman to give the Keynote Address at an Eagle Court of Honor one hot June afternoon I wanted to do something the Scouts and Parents would remember for the rest of their lives--in every good way. 

For every Eagle Scout Speaker who comes after, I recommend this--it's a physical way of involving almost every man and boy in the room in a memorable series of links.

"We live by symbols, I began. "Look at the flag that we just pledged allegiance to.  Did you ever think you might be called upon to defend that flag in time of war?  Y'know the symbol of the eagle on the resume of a World War II Recruit meant he could be promoted from enlisted to office--made a lieutenant and put in charge of a platoon.  What does the Eagle rank really the real world today?  It means you're a marked man--that people will expect great things of you!

"To help you all remember this night, I want to do a magic trick that you will always remember." I continued.  The eyes of the cubscouts and pre cubs got wide--maybe responding to my mysterious tone and this wizard- like beard.

"You six men sitting in the Eagles Next have all earned your eagle scout award.  Me too!  I brought my eagle badge still pinned to my Order of the Arrow sash and my collection of Merit Badges--and a special silk and painted leather Eagle Neckerchief that I haven't worn since I was awarded my Eagle in 1963--47 years ago.  I think this would be a good time to put it on.

"Now to the magic trick--will all men who are Eagle Scouts in the room stand up?"  I called on a friend, Kim Monson, one of the Eagles nest, to rearrange the standing line oldest to youngest-- then I called upon the two Eagle Scout Candidates and their parents (Scouting is a Team Sport, after all) to join the Eagle trail, then I called on all Life Scouts--boys and men who got stuck there along the Eagle trail to stand oldest to youngest--and so it went through the ranks down to tenderfoot. 

By then the line of men and boys stretched across the Relief Society Room.  Then we added the Silver Beaver award recipient and all the cub scouts from Webelos through Bear, Wolf and Bobcat--and all the pre-cub little boys.  (Older men stalled at Star or First Class came bounding up to take their place--as everyone, "got into the act".

With everyone in the line of the Eagle Trail, I asked everyone to hold hands.and look up and down the "trail".

To the little guys on one end, I said: "There it is--your future in Scouting.  Aspire to achieve your own Eagle Scout Rank so you can join the veterans in the Eagle Nest and reap the benefits of being an Eagle Scout-- the highest rank in Scouting."

To the new Eale Candidates and Veteran Nesters--"Look down the trail.  There is your challenge--encourage your fellow scouts to work to arrive where you are.    Let's have a round of  applause for all the Eagle Scouts and Eagle wannabes long the Eagle Trail--now you can all sit down--but I hope you'll remember who was next to you--and all the ways you can help each other up the Eagle Trail."  JWH

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