I had coffee this week with one of former Scouts who’s now in graduate school. We talked about a lot of things, but the conversation naturally turned to Scouting and his memories of his time in my troop.
His number-one memory? The time at Sea Base when everybody but him got food poisoning and the captain, who was also sick, put him in charge of the steering the ship to its next few destinations. He said that incident, and the lessons it taught him, were more formative than anything else he’d done in Scouting.
Nearly every Scout has stories like that, stories that illustrate in a few sentences what the Scouting experience has meant to him. But far too many Eagle Scout courts of honor focus more on statistics than substance. You know what I mean: “Johnny Scout joined Troop 123 on March 12, 2010. He attended summer camp that summer at Camp Crooked Creek and became a Tenderfoot Scout on September 1, 2010. Then he quickly advanced to the rank of Second Class, becoming a Second Class Scout on …………..fafsadfjl,fwfdklfds dklakfd fds;lkfd dfsk;lhgshfdskjlfdsklkfdsl dsflasfhkfds dfskhfs;ljfsdkjldfs j;lkadfskjlsd dfskjldfsjdsf jfskjldfskjl dfskjldfskl gdskjlsafkjl
(Sorry, I dozed off while typing that last sentence.)
Next time you’re planning an Eagle court of honor, save the facts and figures for the printed program and put the flesh-and-blood Scout in the spotlight. Your audience may lose the chance for a catnap, but they’ll gain an understanding of the journey your honoree has been on.