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Just dropping by... Eagle celebration

Yevet Tenney Published on 06 April 2011

In August of 2009 the Silver Creek District, of which I am a part, decided to honor the birthday of Scouting in a very special way. 100 years, 100 Eagles; wow, what a challenge!

Some said, “That’s too many. We only had 17 Eagles in 2008.” We thought, “Better to shoot for the stars and drag our feet in the trees than to shoot for the trees and drag our face in the mud.” We shot for the stars and sailed above the mountains.

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Eighty Eagles reached the goal. On March 10, we honored 100 years of Scouting in America, and the Eagles who rose to the challenge of reaching the highest rank in Scouting. We are proud of their achievements, but we are also proud of those who have just stepped onto the trail toward Eagle, the Cub Scouts.

Cub Scouting is the first step on the trail to Eagle. A boy enters the Cub Scouts when he is eight years old. He becomes a member of a worldwide youth organization that upholds high values and beliefs.

It is not about having fun, though you do have fun. It is all about character and helping a boy become a productive and well-behaved young man.

The first step in Scouting is the Tiger. As a Tiger, a boy learns about his family, being safe, getting along with others, being in the outdoors and having fun.

After Tiger, a boy becomes a Wolf. The Wolf learns about the flag and about the country. He learns about sports and how to take care of his body. Wolves grow things and make things.

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The next rank is Bear. Bears learn about America’s past. They learn about maps and tying knots. They learn about space and build a model rocket and are able to participate in the Pinewood Derby.

Webelos are next. They are almost Scouts. Webelos learn about citizenship, craftsmanship, scholarship and leadership. They are on the trail to Eagle and they know it is important, and they want to be an Eagle more than anything! The Cub Scout lives by the Cub Promise:

I (name) promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country; to help other people, and obey the law of the pack.

Scouting is one of the greatest organizations in the world. It promotes the ideals of citizenship, honors God and fellow beings. Service is at the heart of every true Boy Scout. If a boy grows from boy to man with the Scout Law and Oath burning in his heart, he will be a leader.

Boy Scouts learn survival skills that will help them throughout their lives. Sleeping in a snow cave in zero-degree weather, grueling 50-mile hikes. Jumping into an icy lake of water and learning what makes the nation free.

The skills are so demanding and the challenges are so great that only about 2 percent of all boys in scouting attain the rank of Eagle.

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When a boy becomes a Scout, he receives a Scout badge that represents “the international brotherhood of Scouting.” The Scout understands and makes a commitment to live by the “Scout Oath and Law.”

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

A Scout is:
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful,
Friendly, Courteous, Kind,
Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty,
Brave, Clean and Reverent.

In the next step on the trail to Eagle, the Scout becomes a Tenderfoot. The badge has three points in a star that stand for the three parts of the Scout Oath. The emblem is found on a mariner’s compass, pointing to the North Star and a safe journey in life.

There are two stars representing truth and knowledge, a shield that is the emblem of a nation and an Eagle that reminds the boy of the Eagle that represents our freedoms.

The Second Class Scout comes next. The emblem has a scroll with the ends that are turned up in the willing smile of the scout. On the face of the badge is written, “Be Prepared”, and suspended from it is the knot, tied there as a reminder of the slogan of the Boy Scouts of America, “Do a good turn daily.”

As a First Class Scout, the boy is expected to set his course by the stars of truth and knowledge and prepare himself to act in righteousness of justice and freedom. The First Class emblem reflects his commitment to others.

The Star is the next rank, and is reflected by the star in the emblem. To become a Star Scout, a boy must earn six merit badges, four of which must be from the required Eagle list. Some of these merit badges teach a boy first aid, emergency preparedness, citizenship, life saving and personal fitness and management.

Finally, the boy becomes a Life Scout. It is the last step before becoming an Eagle Scout. By this time, he has mastered knowledge of subjects that will benefit not only himself, but also the country and his fellow man. To become a Life Scout, a boy must earn a total of 11 merit badges, including seven from the required Eagle list.

The Eagle Award is the culmination of all a boy’s Scouting efforts. Of course, he never reaches goals on his own. He has leaders to help. After he has earned his merit badges, each Eagle candidate must plan and supervise an Eagle service project.

This service project demonstrates a Scout’s capacity and willingness to show leadership in his community. These eighty Eagles donated thousands of hours to the community.

When a Scout has accomplished the requirements for the rank of Eagle, he undergoes an Eagle board of review, made up of members of his troop committee and a representative of the Council for the Silver Creek District. This board of review makes sure the ideals of Scouting are carried out.

The majestic eagle has been a symbol of greatness from prehistoric times to the present day. To the Egyptians, the eagle was the messenger of the gods and the sun, a symbol of eternal life.

To the Romans, he was the carrier of Jupiter’s thunderbolts and a sign of power. To American Indians, he stood as the incentive to valor and the pledge of victory. For us today, the eagle is the living symbol of all courageous and freedom-aspiring Americans.

The Eagle Scout badge, designed in 1912, honors the eagle as one of the symbols on the badge. The Eagle badge has an eagle suspended from a red, white and blue ribbon.

The white ribbon on the Eagle badge stands for honor. The blue ribbon stands for loyalty, while the red stands for courage. To remind the Eagle Scout to always wear a smile, the red, white and blue ribbon is attached to the scroll, which has its ends turned up in a smile.

The Eagle ceremony on March 10, 2011, was a landmark achievement for these boys. They are the men who will become the leaders of tomorrow. I was glad to be a small part of their achievement, and I was glad to see two of my grandsons, my nephew and my last son, Craig, step to the rank of Eagle.

Scouting has been a major part of my life for many years, and I pray that the Scouting program will never be lost, because it stands for all that is great and wonderful about America.

The Eagle

The Lord made thousands of birds to grace the sky.
They all start with eggs snuggled in a nest.
But the eagle was crowned king among the birds.

Eagles sail above the shimmering sea
Where the waves are rough and there are dangers in the deep.
His nest is high in the cliffs above the world.
They are at home among the clouds and shun the well-trod ground.

Eagles have one true mate they love their whole lives through.
They are not like chickens that nest among flocks
An Eagle has his sight on heaven and doesn’t
Flirt with chicken hawks.

He seeks the high country where the
The dangers of the earth never threaten
The freedom he loves so well.

He knows that the snakes of the desert can destroy a nest upon the ground.
He builds his nest for the future.
He will keep his family safe no matter what the cost.
He isn’t like the pigeon who tumbles carelessly
He knows that tumbling is a dangerous sport that kills his precious time.
He charts a course across the sky toward the shining sun.
He has more than pleasure to occupy is mind
An Eagle is a Godlike bird who reaches for the stars
He will never be content with a common chicken yard.
He will soar above the heavens and will one day reach
Celestial worlds to rest with other eagles in heaven’s glorious realm. PD

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