I had the opportunity to share my thoughts at an Eagle Court of Honor last night. The topic I was asked to speak about was the trail to Eagle. In the short time I’ve been a Scoutmaster, I’ve thought about this subject a lot and based it on the concept I put together from a previous Deacon’s Quorum activity.
For those who have gone hiking before, the trail to Eagle really is…just like a trail. It’s rough. It’s rocky. It has ups and it has downs. Seldom is it flat as you push for the summit. It has parts that are narrow and parts that have unsure footing. You might even wonder at times if you’re going the right way. It can be tough! Your physical strength is challenged; your mental capacity is tried. Your endurance to the end is tested with every step. And so it is with earning your Eagle. It takes determination, dedication and commitment.
- Determination – there’s so much involved from hours of service to leadership positions to setting an example for others and being a resource for younger scouts.
- Dedication – 21 Merit Badges! That’s a lot of work!! I haven’t tallied up the number of total requirements in completing 21 badges, but I’m sure it’s in the hundreds!
- Commitment – doing scout work isn’t always the most appealing thing to do when so much else is going on around you.
The trail to Eagle is also rewarding. It allows a young man to explore things he may not otherwise be willing to try. It shows him a variety of possibilities and gives him knowledge, practice, experience and confidence. And through this process, a boy may discover his passion…or pursue what becomes his lifelong career.
Hiking the trail to Eagle prepares a young man for his mission. As the boy enter the mission field and assigned a companion, where would he have had an opportunity to get along with his new roommates? Scout Camp. Where will the boy have eaten food he’s cooked himself or was prepared by someone other than his family? Scout Camp. Where would he have spent long periods of time away from the comforts of home, the familiarity of his parents and the normal everyday routine? Scout Camp. What about finding his way in a new city? Or treating blisters, heat exhaustion or nausea? The list goes on…
Earning the Eagle rank isn’t about scouting as much as it is about life. It’s about building character, discovering yourself and learning skills. What boys learn from their personal trail will be used throughout their lives. …and the value of this experience can increase over time! So I congratulate those who have completed their trails to Eagle. You made it to the top. You reached the peak. You pushed all the way to the end, and the view from the summit should be totally worth it! Congratulations!!