We are all in Scouting for one reason or another. Some of us have been in Scouts since we were in Cub Scouts, our parents and grandparents were in Scouts and we have just grown up with the program. For others, it was an invite at a join night that fell out of the lunch box. Either way you are an active part of Scouting and that means you are making a difference in the lives of young men.
Scouting, through its many merit badges, skills, and the advancement program challenges a Scout to seek an interest or a passion. It does this in the adult volunteers also. Now, I am not suggesting that adults find an interest through a merit badge and certainly not in the advancement program, but there are opportunities for adults to seek interests and yes a passion.
Let me give you an example about a passion that I have, one that until I became a Scout leader I never really had. And that’s teaching. I love to teach Scouts to lead, to do skills, and to grow to be good men. I had been assigned to be an instructor while in the Army, but it was not really a passion. The students either got it, or they didn’t. Their success or failure was never something I concerned myself with. I did my job and presented the material, they either picked it up.. or they failed. It was pretty cut and dry. When I started teaching Scouts leadership and skills on the other hand, I realized that there was a lot more at stake with these boys. They are our future. Now, not to get overly dramatic about it, but they truly are the future and how I teach them will matter one day.
I was talking with a fellow Scoutmaster, a really great friend of mine. He shared with me a story about a Scout he had in his Troop years ago. This young man struggled with skills and never wanted to be a leader. It was a constant struggle to keep this Scout engaged and willing to participate without distraction. One day, the Scoutmaster was delivering his Scoutmaster Minute to the Troop and as he wrapped up he told the Scouts that he really loves it when he sees them in the paper or within the community doing great things. He shared that he keeps a scrapbook filled with all of the accomplishments of the Scouts. Winners of track meets, Football all stars, academic achievements, they are all in this scrapbook. He went on to tell the Scouts how proud he is of them and that he wants to continue to see this kind of stuff in the paper.
About a year went by and Scouts came and went, but the Troop was active and having a great year. One night the same Scoutmaster stood in front of the Troop to deliver his Scoutmaster minute. He held a newspaper clipping in his hand. He asked the Scouts if they remembered the talk he had last year about his scrapbook? They collectively replied that they remembered. Well, he began, I have another clipping for the scrapbook, but its not good news. He asked if they remembered that Scout that was always making trouble? Again, collectively they answered they remembered. The clipping was a tragic story about a couple crimes. The troubled Scout had robbed a few houses in the community and was convicted of burglary. He was sent to prison on a relatively short sentence, but while he was locked up he got mixed up with a group of prisoners and they beat him violently. He later passed away in the prison hospital of internal injuries. This clipping was going into the scrapbook, not as a story to celebrate the achievements of the Scouts, but as a reminder that we need to impact these young men in a positive manner. The lessons we teach them about life and living, about being a man of character, about skills and leadership will last within them. If we fail to do our part in the development of these young men there will be lasting circumstances. On the other hand if we are successful we will be able to celebrate with them.
That is a long way of telling you that we can seek a passion, mine is to teach and coach these great young men to be fine men. It drives me and makes me want to be better and gives me the drive to stay the course, even when it is frustrating and the boys don’t seem to get it. I know they will. I believe in them.
There are many opportunities to develop a passion in Scouting. Some find backpacking, some find the High Adventure bases, some find Wood Badge, some find a podcast, while others, well they just want to hang out with their son and watch him grow. Whatever it is, I would encourage you to find it and then do whatever it takes to grow it, share it, and make it a passion.
Scouting is one of my passions, as you should be well aware by now.
Have a Great Scouting Day!