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The importance of Scouting

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Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:00 am

I recently attended a Boy Scouts of America, American Values Luncheon in my hometown of Gadsden, Ala. The luncheon was a celebration of a successful Friends of Scouting financial campaign. At my table were eight of my old friends who were members of my Scout troop in the early ‘50s.

The Scout Oath was recited by all present, even those of us who had not recited the Oath in over 60 years. We all remembered, because the Scout Oath is an oath you never forget. “On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

Our countries Pledge of Allegiance and the Scout Oath are both beginnings of a definitive road map for the youth of our country.

Boy Scouts are taught early in the Scouting program about the privilege of living in the United States and enjoying its inherent freedoms. Scouts are also taught there is a responsibility associated with American freedoms and the Scouting program assists in identifying individual responsibilities.

When a boy completes the Scouting program and becomes an Eagle Scout, the leaders of the Scouting program can honestly say, “Job well done!” to the recipients. The rank of Eagle carries with it the acknowledgement of accomplishment, a designation that will be beneficial to the recipient for a lifetime. But if a boy does not complete the Eagle requirements, he will have been associated with a program that instills leadership and responsibility. In addition he will develop a true love, understanding and appreciation of the United States of America.

In my past life as a businessman, I interviewed many people for various jobs and promotions. If all business qualifications or resumes were equal, but one candidate was an Eagle Scout, the fact one candidate was an Eagle Scout influenced my selection every time. Sometimes intangibles, such as character, are important but not included on a resume. There are always exceptions to the rule, but without fail, the Eagle Scouts selected were exceptional individuals and were always outstanding performers.

All my friends gathered at this Alabama Boy Scout luncheon are all valued citizens of their individual communities, have been outstanding citizens, and led exemplary lives. As I looked around at our table of old Scouts, and I don’t say former Scouts, because, even though our involvement with Scouting was in the early 1950s, we will always be Boy Scouts of America, Troop 58 of East Gadsden, Ala., and I had to reflect. All these successful men had one common thread. They were all members, at an early age, of the Boy Scouts of America.

The first time I observed anyone my age in a position of responsibility was at Troop 58 Scout meetings, and that person was my valued friend, Glenn Thompson. I did not realize at the time, nor did he, that Glenn was my role model, and a good one. Many years later, in retrospection, I understood how important the influence of Glenn’s leadership and the Scouting program had been in my life. Both Glenn and the Boy Scouts gave me something when I had little.

When asked if I would do anything differently in my life, I never hesitate with my answer. The one thing I would have done differently was to complete the requirements of Eagle Scout. The lack of two merit badges, Swimming and Life Saving, kept me from becoming an Eagle Scout, and they kind of go together. I was scared of water, couldn’t swim, and couldn’t save anybody’s life. Not becoming an Eagle was, and is, the biggest continuing disappointment of my life.

The Scout Law summarizes what the Scouting program teaches young men. It reads, “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent.” If these ideals are characteristic of what parents want to instill in your son, then enroll him in the Scouting Program.

Encourage young men, whether, son, nephew, cousin, or others, to become involved in Scouting and pursue the rank of Eagle Scout. At one point in the Values Program the Master of Ceremonies Tommy Lee, asked all Eagles to stand up. Our entire table stood up with the exception of one. I was surrounded with the best, Eagle Scouts.

The Scout Executives of the Kokomo community have chosen to be involved with the most outstanding program our country offers to mold the lives of America’s future leaders. This is an awesome and rewarding task that will have a direct impact on the longevity of the United States of America.

The Scouting Program in Kokomo is in the finishing stages of its annual Friends of Scouting Campaign. The completion of this most important fund raising program will be celebrated with a luncheon at St. Joseph Hospital Conference Center on Friday, July 20th at 11:30 A.M. If you haven’t sent in your contribution to this very important part of the Boy Scouts of America Scouting Program, then please do so.

The Boy Scouts of America needs our support, both philosophically and financially. They deserve no less.