Richard, an old friend and neighbor, stopped by our house tonight on his way home from Troop 118’s weekly meeting. It has been several years since we raced to make the Monday night 7pm Scout Troop meeting at St. Stephen United Methodist Church. Richard is a veteran BSA leader, who along with a host of other past leaders, have shepherded over 130 boys (including his two sons) to the rank of Eagle Scout in Troop 118.
Jake earned his Eagle Scout medal on February 9, 2008. His Court of Honor was one of the most memorable nights of my life. It was a 5-year journey through 21 merit badges, 4 years of summer Scout camp, a national Jamboree and hundreds of camping trips. When he was a young scout, I would pray all weekend that he would return in one piece from 15-mile mountain hikes in 20-degree weather, all while hefting a 40-lb pack. When he was an older scout, I sent him off for 2-week trips to canoe the lakes of Canada, carrying only one dry-bag and a 100-lb canoe. And Top Gun leadership camp, a week in the wilderness during a humid southern summer, with only snakes, mosquitoes and poison ivy to keep him company. All that pales in comparison to the Eagle Board of Review, where a candidate is grilled by three regional leaders, on multiple topics from US government to orienteering to the details of first aid procedures.
While Jake has made his share of mistakes since he received that medal, graduated from high school, and went on to college, we see the seeds of those Eagle lessons quietly germinating in him today.
A ship-shape, tightly packed duffel for a trip to Europe. If you want something organized, whether it’s a suitcase, a tailgating expedition, or a camping trip for 20, Jake is the man for the job.
A pristine and thorough engineering lab notebook. Are all budding engineers that meticulous?
A fierce loyalty and commitment to his part-time job. He’s the reluctant trainer of new staff and usually gets more hours than he can manage.
Showing up for that 8am class. Yes, this may sound simple, but we are NOT morning people!
Attending summer school to improve his GPA. The route to a mechanical engineering degree is a long slog, and he just keeps on keepin’ on.
Individually these are not huge things. But they are steps on the steep path to manhood.
Each boy who achieves the Eagle rank takes the following oath:
On my honor I will do my best
to make my training an example,
my rank and my influence count strongly
for better Scouting and for better citizenship,
in my troop and in my community
and in my contacts with other people.
To this I pledge my sacred honor.
“On my honor, I will do my best”.…in the small things as well as the big things. Jake will probably not like this post. He is a rather private, low-key guy who gets embarrassed by too much public attention. But I am proud of my Eagle.