There’s an old list that has been around quite a while. The percentage of Scouts who make Eagle changes periodically. The numbers listed in the story (below) were reported as accurate in 1998 and likely have changed since that time; however, I think that the story makes a valid point — scouting affects many people in a strongly postive way.
“Of any one hundred boys who become Scouts, it must be confessed that thirty will drop out in their first year. Perhaps this may be regarded as a failure, but later in life, all of these will remember that they had been in Scouting and will speak well of the program.
Of the one hundred, only rarely will one ever appear before a juvenile court judge. Twelve of the one hundred will be from families that belong to no church. Through Scouting, these twelve and many of their families will be brought into contact with a church and will continue to be active all their lives. Six of the one hundred will become pastors/clergy.
Each of the one hundred will learn something from Scouting, and all will develop hobbies that will add interest throughout the rest of their lives. Approximately one-half will serve in the military, and in varying degrees, profit from their Scout training. At least one will use it to save another person’s life, and many may credit it for saving their own.
Four of the one hundred will reach Eagle rank, and at least one will later say that he valued his Eagle above his college degree. Many will find their future vocation through merit badge work and Scouting contacts. Seventeen of the one hundred boys will become adult leaders and will give leadership to thousands of additional boys.
As we conclude this Court of Honor we need to consider that the ceremony represents more than a celebration of past accomplishment: it is a time to plan – to set goals for what comes next.
There’s been a lot written over the ages about setting goals. Business managers, sales teams, sports teams and other organizations set goals periodically so that they can let everyone know the common direction they’ll be taking. It’s the start of effective planning and charting a course.
On campouts, we set many goals and make various plans. It starts with the selection of an activity or location that we want to pursue and continues until the patrol leaders, quartermasters and grubmasters have all their gear and food loaded into the cars and vans. Sometimes plans change depending on the weather or simply because we discover an opportunity once we arrive at our destination.
When it comes to individual scouts setting goals and making plans they have a lot to consider and much to learn. It’s pretty easy to “stay the course” and do what’s easy and fun. It’s not much of a commitment to take the summer “off” from school and scouts and other programs to sleep late and simply play games until dusk each day. It does take a strong commitment to go against the usual or expected.
How do I define a worthy goal? A worthy goal is one that is spiritually rewarding, benefits more than you alone, and is aspirational or personally challenging. Do you see a parallel to the Scout Oath here? Duty to God, duty to others and duty to self are covered.
What does God want us to do with our time and energy? When setting goals for your time it makes sense to read the bible, pray and talk with your parents. Our activity should render honor to God – it’s by His grace that we can do anything at all. Proverbs 16:9 (NASB) says “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Also, in Proberbs19:21 it says; “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand.” We can plan all we want, but God’s plan and purpose for us will prevail. It’s always better to consult with God first and make plans that are in alignment with His vision for our activity.
Service to others is required for advancement in scouts, but it’s not the reason we should be interested in doing service projects. First of all, others help us all the time but sometimes we take it for granted. Secondly, service work helps us to remember that we can do great things when we consider the needs of others as important. A scout is courteous, friendly and kind. Jesus told the disciples to heal the sick and drive out unclean spirits in Matthew 10:1. In Ephesians 4:11-13 we have a reminder that we each have roles to play in helping others carry out good works.
Finally, what is your duty to self? Work at being healthy, develop a disciplined mind, and focus on spending time doing “good things” to create and keep a cheerful outlook despite any setbacks. Philippians 4:8 says; “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
The summer is in front of you. Many of you are heading to a week at camp. Others will enjoy family vacations or even missions trips. These are all great things to do. What will you do with your additional “spare time”? I’d encourage you to do lots of great things beyond scouting, but to also consider working on a merit badge or practicing your first aid skills and knot tying. Remember our motto – Be Prepared. Don’t be caught off-guard by letting your time fritter away on unimportant things or by being lazy. Seek the guidance of God and your parents and have a great summer.