scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: puzzled
MAJ) Mike Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle (blkeagle@USSCOUTS.ORG
Sat Apr 17 1993 - 17:23:22 CDT
Anthony Hitchings asked us to:
>Answer me this,
>Why do I need to know about the spectacular achievements of an Eagle scout I
>don't know or will probably never meet? Is it not enough for him to be
>recognized by his peers and those within his community? Call me cynical
>have), but I have never been impressed by form letters that were read aloud at
>Court's of Honor (I've been to lots), and some of the messages on Scouts-L seem
>to be flagrant begging for email versions of same.
>I guess what really bothers me is the "solicitation" aspect of it, just like
>that pesky phone solicitation we all (mostly) hate so much.
As a Scouter whom receives close to 200 such "beggings" (they are actually
really nice letters and emails, mostly emails) a year, I can explain why
it's important, even though personally *I* agree with you that the MOST
IMPORTANT RECOGNITIONS should come from the Eagle Scout's own "community
circle" and NOT through people like me....
It's important because it gives the "bigger picture" on this Scout's
We have to face it: a Scout receiving Eagle or the Girl Scout's Gold Award;
or any other "national award" for personal achievement gets the same
reaction as if we gave this kid two and half minutes of fame as "young
citizen" or "athlete" of the week via local television or newspapers. A big
ol' yawn. Little is known of the number of youth whom actually receive
those awards in a given year, and for the most part, most people don't know
(although they may have heard) of the award.
The ONLY way that the PARENTS of the Scout can rise above the din of
"congrats, but it's just a boy scout" or "girl scout" award, is by
"inviting" some prominent Americans to attend the Scout's Court of Honor or
other recognition ceremony. I don't respond to out and out "begging for
letters" but I do respond to invitations to attend Courts of Honor (and when
I do write letters, I ask the Scout to please send me a copy of their Court
of Honor program). If my personal schedule permits, I'll hop in the car (or
rent a car), or get on a plane or train and BE THERE for the event. I'm
not a "prominent American" by no means, gang....but many of us here on
Scouts-L (and other lists) do receive invites to attend or to send greetings
in lieu of attendance to various Eagle Scout and Gold Scout receipients.
Some of us do attend if it's nearby. Most of us will spend the few minutes
to send an electronic greeting to the Scout/Scout's family/Scoutmaster/other
adult to forward to the Scout. And a few of us will actually use our
keyboards, monitors, software programs and printers and send a personalized
letter to the new receipient.
I am always reminded of the time in which an Eagle Scout candidate wrote to
President Gerald Ford, himself an Eagle Scout, seeking that "letter from the
President" autopenned with his signature to "add in his book". He, nor his
family nor Troop, were NOT ready for the Secret Service to arrive and later
that afternoon, for the President himself to arrive and briefly speak during
this kid's Eagle Scout Court of Honor.
All they thought they were going to get was an "autopenned letter" and maybe
I have attended a Court of Honor in sububan Louisville once, in which I was
asked to speak. The Scout received many letters, including that from
various politicians in the Jefferson County (the county seat) area. As I
was about to start into my speech about the importance of Scouting, I
modified my speech by stating that "one may never know who will find
Scouting so important, that they literally change their plans to
participate". For out of the back of the room, came in then-Governor John
Y. Brown, Jr. and his wife Phyllis George Brown along with an entourage of
bodyguards, state troopers and photographers.
(for those whom don't remember this couple...this was the "Donald and Ivana
Trump" of the Midwest back in the 70s. Governor Brown's claim to fame was
the Pepsico empire, which at one time included Kentucky Fried Chicken in
addition to Pepsi, Pizza Hut and several other companies...he also owned a
professional basketball franchise in Kentucky and several radio stations -
his father was also a fomer Governor of the state and a very powerful
politician; his wife was an anchor on the NBC "Today" show, in addition to
being an actress, former Miss America, and businesswoman in her own right as
evidenced after their divorce)
I had the honor of introducing the Governor, who came forth, and spent
twenty minutes explaining the importance of leadership and "doing ones
best". He then left a box containing coupon books for everyone present and
with a photographer, took pictures with the young Scout, his family, and the
Scoutmaster. He then awarded the special Kentucky Colonel citation, the
state's highest civil honor, to the Scout and to the Scoutmaster (the person
that "wrote the letter" to the Governor's office inviting him and his wife
to the Court of Honor). Then, they excused themselves explaining that they
had to get to the airport and get to New York so that Phyllis could be back
to work, and off they went.
I am VERY SURE that all that Scout expected was an stock letter, to be read
during his Eagle Scout ceremony, from the Governor.
>If we all started bragging on our Troop's scouts, the list would be choked (I
>could do some big-time bragging on one of our scouts, but I'll be darned if
Anthony, I personally enjoy hearing about the accomphishments of youth.
Seeing how Scouts-L is a YOUTH PROGRAMS DISCUSSION LIST, and not just a
"Scouting resource list", I am quite sure that others are likewise
interested in just what a Scout DOES or DID to earn Eagle or the Gold Award
or other awards.
To *me*, we don't hear ENOUGH of our youth; and when we do, it's peppered
between the trouble they've gotten themselves into and the "way the world is
today". I would love to see an entire section of our newspapers emphasize
those kids that do make an effort to better themselves and their
communities....whether its through programs like Scouting, through school
programs, athetics, or religion-based programs and activities. It won't
happen...those sections very seldom "make money" for the newspapers and very
few sponsors want to "host" such a "good news" program on the radio or
I may not be able to send a letter to every Scout. I try really hard, but
there are times in which I can't keep up with the requests. There are other
times, in which I may go for a couple of months without such a request to
attend a Court of Honor, or the "gimme letters" as I've explained them on my
Leaders' Online (tm) site...I think in those cases, I've been taken "off"
the "send me letters" listings...but they do start coming in eventually.
I would RATHER that the Scout seek out and obtain letters from those in his
or her immediate circle of life - friends, local leaders, community leaders,
teachers, religious leaders - FIRST and then expand from that circle to
include local Council volunteers and professionals, regional community and
religious leaders than to go "directly to people they have never heard or
But if a Scouter or Scout invites me to attend their Court of Honor or other
recognition ceremony, I will try to attend it and if I cannot, I will send a
letter to the young person attesting to his or her personal service and
And this is the most appropriate forum in which to read about and perhaps
make plans to attend those events from. After all, we're ALL here to better
support young people through our various programs.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)
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