Re: Easier Eagles
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Fri, 28 Jul 1995 18:47:12 +0100
I always thought Scouting was about developing citizenship ... the
outdoor program is a tool , not an objective.
Regarding Firemanship ... for my Chief Scout's Award the three " service
" badges I took were Interpreter, Ambulance and Interpreter.
Interpreter has enabled me to assist a number of foreign visitors to
London. " A Scout is friendly and considerate . "
Ambulance - again , first aid skills are something I use fairly regularly.
Firemanship ? When my car caught fire due to gasoline leaking on a spark
plug the fire officer said that had I not carried an extinguisher and
known how to use it the vehicle would have blown up , possibly injuring
me and passers-by. When a chip-pan caught fire when I was still living
at home I knew how to deal with it. And they also taught me how to deal
with a road accident (e.g. disconnect battery to prevent risk of fire ) -
skills I have used on several occasions. And when the Fire Brigade did
the Fire Precautions Act for my building the officer said that it was the
only building in the area that did not have a problem , because I knew
and complied with the requirements - stuff I learnt as a Scout.
As far as I am concerned it does not matter which merit badges are
required and which are optional ... what makes an Eagle Scout is not , IMHO
whether a kid can or cannot swim or whatever ... it is to do with whether
he accepts and lives by the Scout Oath and Law , and whether he has
prepared himself to be a participating , caring member of his community.
A few years ago I was at a PLC at the British troop I was running at the
time. One of the boys picked up the badge for the Explorer award (roughly
Star / Life) and said " I'll take that now ... save completing the
requirements. " To which I replied " Yes, take it. Sew it on, if it
means that much to you. But you will know you have not earned it. So
will I , if that matters. So will the troop. But take it ... here. "
He stopped and looked hard at the badge , then at me. " Do you mean it,
Ian ? " I looked him in the eye. " Of course I do. It's just a bit of cloth,
worth about thirty pence isn't it ? " Then he put it back in the tin.
" I guess I'll wait until I've earned it, thanks. "
A few months later he was presented with that patch at a troop meeting ,
and when I shook hands I think I noted a little twitch in the corner of
To me that is what Scouting is about ... not bits of cloth or tin or
arguing over whether this or that requirement has or has not been fully
met. It is a kid who knows that he has done <his> best ... not your best ,
or my best , but the best he is capable of.
Ian N Ford
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City