Being the Director of the Center for Scouting Ministries, I have a rare privilege. I receive requests for Eagle Scout commendation or congratulations letters. In the last four years, there have been over 3,800 requests. These requests are from proud parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, church leaders, and Scout leaders. Each letter brings a piece of the Scout’s walk into my life.
There are so many interesting Eagle Scout projects. Many projects are for the local churches including youth group spaces, prayer gardens, storage units, and much more. Other projects reach out in outdoor Scouting spirit. Environmental projects benefit everyone. Animal shelters are embraced and helped with their needs. The homeless have been served within the community and far abroad. Veterans are aided and honored. A fitting “thank you” for their service. No matter the giving, each is a piece the Scout shared. As Baden-Powell put it, “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it, and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate, you have not wasted your time but have done your best.”
The parents’ and leaders’ glow fills the pages and my office. No Eagle has ever taken flight on its own. They have had a worldwide family of support and care. Now they soar in the light. So, do I as I hear of their journeys.
The Bald Eagle has been our national symbol since 1782. But it was also once endangered. In the 1960s and 1970s, we became aware of the problem harming them. Action was taken to ban a pesticide decimating their population in 1972. By 2007, Bald Eagles were removed from the endangered species list.
While there are unseen dangers to the future Eagle Scouts today, I believe in the nobility and value of their foundation. It is in an Oath to duty and a Law of character. Children need not only safety but room to grow. They need positive investment in their lives. They need to stretch their wings. If we are watchful and involved, then Eagle Scouts will not become extinct. The lives of parents, leaders, churches, and communities will be all the brighter. So will our future.
I have seen it.