Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Proud of My Eagle Scout

In first grade, my son brought home a flyer about Cub Scouts. My husband took him to the after school meeting and signed him up for Tiger Cubs. He stuck with Cub Scouts for 4-1/2 years, learning important skills like:

     How to properly race a sailboat in a raingutter without swamping it,
     How to make silver turtles,
     How to build a prize-winning pinewood race car, and
     How to have fun on camp-outs (even when it rained).

We learned along with him.

He earned belt loops and pins, arrow points, badges, and enough patches to completely fill his little red "brag vest" - plus a few more. In 5th grade he earned the Arrow of Light and was ready to join Boy Scouts. The event was marked by a nighttime ceremony that included older Scouts in Indian regalia and a roaring bonfire.

After joining Boy Scouts, the learning continued and the adventures got more exciting. He went on monthly campouts - including canoe trips, climbing, and backpacking. He participated in service projects with his troop.  While earning merit badges, he learned more skills and investigated hobbies and possible careers.  He took leadership roles within the troop and began teaching younger Scouts. He quickly moved up through the rank requirements and by the age of 12 he was a Life Scout. 

Instead of trying to earn Eagle right away, James decided to "relax".

He planned and completed the restoration of a nature trail at the local Scout camp.  It took three years for him to complete the related paperwork, but he finally finished it and earned the Hornaday badge for his efforts.

He was elected by his fellow Scouts to the Order of the Arrow (Scouting's honor society).  He attended all the regular Lodge and Section events - as a participant at first, then as a staff member. He joined 500 fellow Arrowmen in reclaiming 134 acres of overgrown meadows in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. He attended the National Order of the Arrow Conference at Indiana University. Last year he received the Vigil Honor for his past and future participation. He currently holds the office of Order of the Arrow Chapter Chief.

In addition to leadership and merit badge requirements, James had to plan and complete a project to qualify for the Eagle award. He led a group of Scouts, Scouters, friends and family, in building four picnic tables – providing outdoor seating for the students of a local elementary school.  His project was completed in June.  And upon returning from summer camp in July, he completed his Eagle Board of Review and became an Eagle Scout.

Last Sunday, we held an Eagle Court of Honor to celebrate his achievement. I struggled to hold back tears as I listened to him tell of his experiences in Scouting and thank those people who had mentored him through the years.  Scouting has helped my little boy to grow into a strong, well-rounded, and compassionate man.

I am so very proud of my Eagle Scout.