By: Dean Whinery
Posted On: 2018-12-31
I like what's happening in the BSA. It should have happened years ago, as in Canadá, México, and most of the Free World served by WOSM. However, I wonder if some of us are overdoing it with emphasis on the possibility of all members attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. Scouting offers much more than just the Eagle, and there are lots of folks out there to prove it. Was JFK a "bad Scout" because he didn't make Eagle? Is Bill Gates a "failure" because he is only a Life Scout for Life? Is the Scout I had in my troop years ago also a failure because he wrote home from summer camp "Camp is fun. We go swimming every day. I sink."--that boy grew up to become a Methodist minister. Did another Scout, with ADHD, "fail" as he aged out a Life Scout, with a couple of Catholic religious awards, and a lot of other Scouting under his belt, and is now looking toward the day when he can volunteer as Den Leader for his new twins? About these and thousands of others, I think not.
Scouts still say "On my honor, I will do my best..." Isn't his or her Best good enough? You bet it is. It should be the goal of Scouters to help youth to have the confidence that helps them understand that all are individuals, each with a different "best". By all means, every Scout should look up to that summit called Eagle Scout. Not every soldier ends up a five-star general either but still is a good soldier. By the way, this permanent Star Scout served for many years as leader of a 60-member Cadette Girl Scout troop, putting his Wood Badge training to the test a little differently. The looked on those "closed" GS troops of 5-10 girls as "cliques" that camped about once a year in their leaders' trailers or SUVs. "My girls" planned a year-round program that included no less than 11 camping trips plus a Christmas slumber party and did some really big service projects because the didn't want to close down for the summer.
I was disappointed when other GS adults, volunteer and professional, would say, "Girls can't (or don't want to) do that." Our troop's program was girl-run. I still hear from some of "my girls". a quarter-century later. They include doctors, nurses, a heavy equipment operator, a blind attorney, businesswomen, and one is director of a non-profit caring for battered women and children. And a lot of them have the most important job in the world. They are Mothers, including of Girl Scouts and probably soon, members of Scout BSA troops.