Letter to Eagle Scout
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Thu, 23 Mar 1995 22:08:11 CDT
(this is taken from the book "Patches and Pins...." by Mike Walton)
With the rank of Eagle Scout, comes a form letter, auto-penned by the
Chief Scout Executive, personally addressed. It is a nice letter
which gets read during the ceremony in which a Life Boy Scout receives
his Eagle Scout Badge. There are other letters which are also read
during that special ceremony as well. Occassionally, I am humbled by
having my personal letter to that Scout read during that ceremony also.
I write a LOT of congrats letters to Eagle Scouts. I write because
their parents ask me to do so. I write because a Scoutmaster or
Executive ask me to do so. I write because someone connected with the
Troop or Post (Explorers can become Eagles too...just the male ones,
for now...) ask me to do so.
I write because I LOVE TO DO SO.
I know very little about many of the Scouts I write. I depend on the
person asking me to write the letter to tell me something about the
Scout. Not the "usual stuff": good student, funny kid, did a good
service project, leader of his Troop (or Explorer Post), outstanding
Scout. Those are qualities of ALL Eagle Scouts (Okay. So the
"funny" part may NOT encompass ALL Eagles...but I would like to think
that ALL Eagle Scouts have developed a positive sense of humor).
What I want to know is something special about this Eagle Scout. Like
the fact that his service project was so great that the Governor of
his state flew in and congradulated him in person; that his Troop is
100 members large and that he served as leader of all 100; that he is
the first Eagle Scout in the history of his Troop or Post. Something
special that I can "key in on" and associate my own Scouting
background on. I also want to know something about him OUTSIDE of
Scouting: that he's a fair baseball player; that he plays the piano or
the flute (and according to my Godsister, it takes a LOT of concentration
to play the flute!); that he's a fair student and that while he loves
Geography and History, that perhaps he better steer away from becoming a
So, for those Scoutmasters finally getting around to reading this
book, and for those Commissioners like me that get asked to write
letters, here's a copy of a letter I wrote back in 1985 to a new
Eagle Scout. I changed his name only because I haven't heard from him
since the Jamboree. Maybe it will give someone some ideas as to what
to write to a new Eagle Scout. Maybe not.
22 August 1985
14 West Avery Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 40211
Congradulations on achieving Scouting's highest award, the Eagle Scout
Badge. It is an honor that you and I share and I wanted to take a few
minutes to express my personal pride to you. I was asked to write you
by your Scoutmaster, Gerald Moon, during the 1985 National Scout Jamboree
just completed a short few weeks ago.
I understand that you and I share some things in common, Tom. We are
both Eagle Scouts. I earned my Eagle ten years ago November. While our
teachers believe that we will never become chemical engineers, we
both share a great enthusiasm for the social sciences. I understand
that your favorite class in school last year was Civics. It was my
favorite as well. I think that Scouting has placed a different
perspective on what I was taught in school about representative
democracy, conducting elections and how important it is to be a good
citizen. I can now express "examples" of bad and good leadership.
I also understand that you play the flute in the jazz band. I play
the piano and my Godsister played the flute in both high school and
in college as well. When I teased her about playing (like I am sure
that others have perhaps done you that way, Tom), she tells me that it
takes a lot of concentration to play it and challenged me to try. All
I could get the flute to do was to make a blowing sound! It takes a
lot of "stick-to-it-ness", and I commend you for that dedication!
Many kids your age do not want to be Scouts, Tom. Yet, when they get
ready to go to college or to find a job, they inwardly wished that
they had the opportunities that you and I have had by being Scouts.
To many people today, the Eagle Scout Badge still means that you can
handle yourself and others in the wilderness and in the corporate world.
In school, we both were greeted with names, jeers and I am not ashamed to
say that I lost a few dates because "I am a Boy Scout". It was well
worth it, however, because I learned whom my TRUE friends were. I
learned skills which took me beyond Chemistry, Earth Science and all
of my other classes in school by people really doing those things.
Scouting showed me some practical reasons why it was important to
learn to write, to speak, to calculate and to learn how to serve a
volleyball. In school, EVERYONE wanted me to play on their team!
I join with others, Tom, as you become a new Eagle Scout in your Troop.
Eagle Scout! You have made it up Scouting's advancement mountain! Do not
forget that now that you are there, that you have to go back down again.
We need you to show and relate your trek to others wanting to climb up
I am very proud of you, Tom. I add my personal congradulations to
the many others you will receive soon. I hope that well after the
"excitement" of getting that badge placed on your chest by your
parents, that you will continue to help others, continue your personal
growth and development, and continue to be a personal example to those
in your Troop, in your community, and in this great nation of ours of
what a Eagle Scout is.
FORWARD through Leadership,
Mike L. Walton
Council Exploring Commissioner
Transatlantic Council, BSA
The letter is about a page and a half long. Most letters written by
"dignataries" are barely a page long, and has some flowerly words about
"the importance of the Eagle Scout Badge" or "may you continue to fly
upwardly, strongly and swiftly like the Eagle you wear". Get real!
What a young man (what I loved, anyway!) wants to read about is how
special the badge is...and how much in common he is with the writer.
He wants to know that there's a future after Eagle. He wants to know
that the personal and social sacificies he made is worth the "15
minutes of fame" that Andy Warhol says that each person is entitled
to. He wants a real letter, not a auto-penned, cranked-out form
As I stated, I LOVE to write letters to new Eagles. They need to know
that there are others, other than their "community leaders" and their
Scoutmasters, that are looking to them to continue that strong sense of
leadership, of service and of pride in themselves and the program they
And nobody can tell those things honestly, forthrighly, and in real
terms, than another Eagle Scout.
(hope that this helps those struggling with writing those letters!)
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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