“Ma, You Earned Your Eagle”

February 11, 2014

Did you earn Eagle rank in Scouting?

Show this video below to your mother — it will endear you to her (as if you needed that).

Last year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) commemorated 100 years of Scouting as the youth program for boys and young men in the church.  In October there was a world-wide telecast of a ceremony in Salt Lake City.

This song was part of that telecast.

Look at the vintage uniforms some of the boys wear. (I have three of those hanging in my closet . . .)

IF you know the mother of an Eagle Scout — or the father — show this to them.  They’ll appreciate it.  They’ll probably have some even better stories to tell you (stories which I hope you’ll share in comments).

“Ma, You Earned Your Eagle”

Somewhere, Busby Berkeley’s Ghost is laughing, soaking in this production.  It only lacks an Esther Williams number in the water to be a full Berkeley musical, no?

Details:

Published on Oct 30, 2013

[From Sean Mobley] A fun musical snippet from the October 29th presentation “Legacy of Honor” commemorating the 100 year relationship between the Boy Scouts and the Mormon Church. I’m not LDS, but as an Eagle Scout, I know my mom earned hers, too! Check out the whole presentation here: http://www.scouts100.lds.org/

More:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Mary Almanza, for finding the video, and to Kathryn Knowles, our resident Scout Mother.

Following in a Family Tradition — Becoming and Eagle Scout  Julie Reimer displays her Eagle Scout Mom pin, given to her by her son Michael during the Eagle Scout ceremony on Friday, December 30, in Whitefish. Julie has four such ribbons and pins, one for each of her four sons.

From Whitefish, Montana, DailyInterLake.com, Brenda Ahearn photos: Following in a Family Tradition — Becoming an Eagle Scout, Julie Reimer displays her Eagle Scout Mom pin, given to her by her son Michael during the Eagle Scout ceremony on Friday, December 30, in Whitefish. Julie has four such ribbons and pins, one for each of her four sons.

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Mike Rowe: The value of Scouting, even for kids who don’t make Eagle

June 7, 2013

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award Wikipedia image

Boy Scouts of America (BSA)  invited Mike Rowe to the 2012 Annual National Meeting.  They asked him to speak, but surprised him with a Distinguished Eagle Scout award.

Listen to his praise for the value of Scouting, for and from Scouts who don’t make Eagle (it’s at least ten minutes in, but this is entertaining).  Rowe has two brothers, neither of whom earned Eagle; his story involves the exploits of his younger brother, who was a Scout, and achieved the rank of Star.

It really is a Star Scout story.

More:

Ray Suarez receiving his Distinguished Eagle S...

PBS News Hour’s Ray Suarez receiving his Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. You find Eagles all over the place. Wikipedia image


100 years of Eagle Scouts

August 1, 2012

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scout rank, awarded first to Scout Arthur Eldred.  2.1 million Eagles so far.

Do you have an Eagle Scout in your family?  Tell us about it in comments.

Also:


Why so few streets named after Vietnam veterans?

June 11, 2011

Junior Cruz of Salt Lake City was 15 when his Eagle Scout Project honored a fallen soldier from our war in Iraq, Adam Galvez.  You can read a stirring story from The Deseret News at Adam Galvez.com.

Junior Cruz, with Cpl. Adam Galvez's parents Tony and Amy Galvez, at Adam Galvez Street in Salt Lake City

Boy Scout Junior Cruz, with Cpl. Adam Galvez's parents Tony and Amy Galvez, at Adam Galvez Street in Salt Lake City

Marines honor fallen comrade Cpl. Adam Galvez, Salt Lake City, 2007

Marines honor their fallen comrade Cpl. Adam Galvez, at the ceremony naming a street after Galvez.7

Once upon a time I might have wondered about the utility of such a project, not because naming a street after a veterans isn’t a great idea, but because the actions required for naming streets might not measure up to the usual expectations for great service in an Eagle project.  This project and the stories about it quickly dispel such worries — for example, notice that the city required Cruz to raise the $2,000 required to change the street signs, such fundraising itself a major accomplishment.  Our son James’s project at the DFW National Cemetery required similar fundraising, and got at least as much in in-kind contributions — but it was major work.

Marines at the naming of Adam Galvez Street, 2007

Marines salute at the ceremony for the naming of Adam Galvez Street, 2007

Reading the news story, I thought back to a question that has plagued me for years:  Why didn’t we have the good sense to welcome back Vietnam vets with parades, and other welcome home activities?  That was one great lesson of Vietnam I think we, as a nation, learned well.  Today national news programs, like the PBS Newshour, honor each fallen soldier in our nation’s wars.  Here in Dallas, and at other cities I suspect, there is a formal volunteer program to make sure soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan deployments get a flag-waving cheer when they get off the airplane.  Churches, schools, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts volunteer to go wave the flags and cheer the soldiers.  The volunteers may get more out of it than the soldiers, but the message is clear all the way around:  These soldier men and women served their nation, and they deserve thanks and a cheer.

Ceremony naming Adam Galvez Street, February 2007

Ceremony naming Adam Galvez Street, February 2007

Is it too late to do that for Vietnam veterans?  A chief complaint over the years, especially from the war-hungry right wing, is that the Vietnam peace movement dishonored those veterans, chiefly by not honoring them more when they came home.

My brother, Wes, served four tours in Southeast Asia in that war, returning each time to no great celebration other than his family’s great gratitude at his return.  He’s too great a patriot to complain — as are most of the other Vietnam vets.  Our periodic patriotic celebrations now do better:  Vietnam vets get honored at July 4 and Veterans’ Day celebrations, and the fallen get special honors on Memorial Day, in most towns in America.

Junior Cruz hit on a great idea, though:  Name a street in honor of the fallen.

Why not do that for more Vietnam vets?  My hometown of Pleasant Grove, Utah, had a population of fewer than 10,000 people during the Vietnam conflict, but well I remember in my high school years when the list of fallen passed 11, including a recently-graduated studentbody president and basketball star and the brother of a woman in my French class.   Neither of them has a memorial other than their gravestone, that I’m aware.

Adam Galvez Street, Salt Lake City, Utah

Adam Galvez Street, Salt Lake City, Utah

Street names can tell us a lot about a town or city.  In the great booming times of 1950s through 1990s, a lot of streets in America were named after developers’ kids, wives and ex-wives.  More recently developers have taken to cutesy names on a theme designed to sell homes:  “Whispering Waters Way,” “Mountain View,” etc.   Those cities where history gets some note in street names do well, I think.  Ogden, Utah, named a bunch of streets after presidents, in order of their service, from Washington through the second Harrison (and as a consequence, a lot of people who grew up in Ogden can name the presidents in order from Washington through almost to Teddy Roosevelt).  New York has not suffered from renaming a stretch of road The Avenue of the Americas, Washington, D.C. has done well with both Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue.

Why not rename some streets in American after Vietnam veterans?  While we’re at it, how about Korean War veterans?  We can’t recapture the time and do what we should have done about 58 years ago for Korea or about 45 years ago for Vietnam.  We can do noble things from now, forward.  Why not create memorials that remind us of the great service these people did for their nation, and name and rename streets in their honor?

Resources:


Scouts Shooting for the Moon: The story of twelve Moon walkers, and Scouting

April 30, 2011

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Astronaut and 2nd Class Boy Scout Eugene Cernan saluted the U.S. flag on the Moon, on the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17. Photography by Astronaut and Tenderfoot Scout Harrison Schmitt. NASA image.

A short piece I presented this morning to the Tom Harbin Scout Museum Symposium on Scout History, a great morning organized by Bob Reitz, the curator of the Tom Harbin Scout Museum at Camp Wisdom, in Dallas, Texas. Of course the material is copyrighted, but by all means you have permission to use the material at Courts of Honor or in recounting the better history of Boy Scouting.

Scouts Shooting for the Moon:  The story of twelve Moon walkers, and Scouting

This is a recreation with modern numbers of a presentation first used a decade ago. Searching for material for a speech to honor Eagles at our District Dinner, several people suggested in a short period of time, ‘Why not talk about the astronauts who landed on the Moon. I hear they were all Eagle Scouts.’  Was that accurate?  It would have been a good story if so. Research revealed something quite different. The true story can carry just as much inspiration, however. Scouting is shown to be a program that can lead to a lifetime of adventure and accomplishment. Also, Eagles may take some inspiration in knowing they have accomplished something most of the men who walked on the Moon did not.

Speakers constantly need good material for Eagle Scout Courts of Honor and other events honoring Scouts and Scouters. For one event honoring a group of new Eagle Scouts, several people urged that I research the facts behind the story they had heard, that most, or all of the men who walked on the Moon were Eagle Scouts. New Eagles would find comfort in knowing they had soared into the midst of such company, they reasoned.

So it came to pass that, before the advent of Wikipedia and Google, I spent hours on the telephone until a press person at NASA pointed out to me a collection of information on astronauts that NASA had thoughtfully put on-line. At some high cost I printed out the few pages that dealt with the Scouting experience of astronauts, and worked to correlate it with information about which of them had gone to the moon, and which had not.

Anyone can find that book online with ease, today. The NASA Astronaut Fact Book provides information on almost every detail about NASA’s crew of astronauts, past and present. It includes one-and-a-half pages on the Scouting background of people working as astronauts and payload specialists for NASA, and others NASA has launched into manned missions. Cross-indexing that information with lists of Apollo Mission astronauts, I created four short tables showing the Apollo astronauts who went to the Moon, their missions, and the Scout rank they achieved, if any.

Lunar Astronauts and Scouting Experience

Twelve Moon Walkers

Name Mission Dates on the Moon Scout Rank
1 Neil Armstrong Apollo 11 July 21, 1969 Eagle Scout
2 Buzz Aldrin Apollo 11 July 21, 1969 Tenderfoot Scout
3 Pete Conrad Apollo 12 November 19-20, 1969 Cub Scout
4 Alan Bean Apollo 12 November 19-20, 1969 1st Class
5 Alan Shepard Apollo 14 February 5-6, 1971 1st Class
6 Edgar Mitchell Apollo 14 February 5-6, 1971 Life Scout
7 David Scott Apollo 15 July 31-August 2, 1971 Life Scout
8 James Irwin Apollo 15 July 31-August 2, 1971 None
9 John Young Apollo 16 April 21-23, 1972 2nd Class
10 Charles Duke Apollo 16 April 21-23, 1972 Eagle Scout
11 Eugene Cernan Apollo 17 December 11-14, 1972 2nd Class
12 Harrison Schmitt Apollo 17 December 11-14, 1972 Tenderfoot Scout

Apollo 13

Name Mission Dates on the Moon Scout Rank
1 Jim Lovell Apollo 13 Lunar Swingby Eagle Scout
2 Jack Swigert Apollo 13 Lunar Swingby 2nd Class
3 Fred Haise Apollo 13 Lunar Swingby Star

Lunar Missions That Did Not Land

Name Mission Dates on the Moon Scout Rank
1 Frank Borman Apollo 8 Orbited only None
2 Jim Lovell Apollo 8 (&13) Orbited only Eagle Scout
3 William Anders Apollo 8 Orbited only Life Scout
4 Tom Stafford Apollo 10 Orbited only Star Scout
5 John Young Apollo 10 (& 16) Orbited only 2nd Class
6 Eugene Cernan Apollo 10 (& 17) Orbited only 2nd Class

Others Who Did Not Land

Name Mission Dates on the Moon Scout Rank
1 Michael Collins Apollo 11 Capsule pilot None
2 Dick Gordon Apollo 12 Capsule pilot Star Scout
3 Stewart Roosa Apollo 14 Capsule pilot None
4 Al Worden Apollo 15 Capsule pilot 1st Class
5 Ken Mattingly Apollo 16 Capsule pilot Life Scout
6 Ronald Evans Apollo 17 Capsule pilot Life Scout

In all, 24 men flew to the Moon. Twelve set foot on the lunar surface. Of the twelve, eleven were Scouts, two were Eagles. Of the 24, 20 were Scouts, three were Eagles.

At the time I originally researched, about 70% of all astronauts were alumni of Scouting, men and women. Officially, BSA lists 181 NASA astronauts as being alumni, 57.4%

NASA lists the colleges and universities astronauts attended. NASA lists military service, hometowns, and states of birth. But with the possible exception of a generic category of “public schools,” no category of astronauts is larger than the category of Scouting experience. If we were advising a young person on how to get to become an astronaut, we would be remiss if we did not advise him or her to join Scouting.

What can we conclude?

Three things became apparent to me in tracking these figures down. One, I learned once again that the true stories most often carry great value, more value than the stories people make up, or assume.

Two, I learned that Scouting by itself carries great value, without a Scout’s having earned Eagle. We know that not all the Moon walkers earned the Eagle rank. But we also notice that no flight ever went to the Moon without at least two Scouts aboard. Three of the 24 lunar voyagers are Eagles, 12.5%. Two of the dozen who actually set foot on the Moon are Eagles, 16.7%. Eleven of the twelve Moon walkers were Scouts, 91.7%. 21 of 24 lunar voyagers were Scouts, 87.5%.

So, while it was not necessary to be an Eagle, it certainly seemed to help. But simply having Scouting experience seemed to be the biggest help. There may be some magic in a boy’s having taken that oath that carries through his entire life, and spurs him to do daring and great things. That is important. A trend begins to emerge. Scouting by itself, without earning the highest rank, provides great value. When a boy signs up, he signs on for the adventure of a lifetime, and often that leads to a lifetime of adventure. That venturesome spirit carries on well past his Scouting years.

The story of Jim Lovell might carry some great weight with Scouts. Lovell is the only person to have gone to the Moon twice, but never set foot on it. He was the commander of Apollo 13, whose near-disaster was chronicled in the movie of the same name. Among other lessons that might be pulled out of the story:  When your Moon-bound spaceship explodes and loses power on the way to the Moon, it is often good to have an Eagle Scout handy to help get through the experience and return safely.

Is there inspiration here?

When I first presented these figures at a Scout meeting, a parent asked me whether these numbers would discourage boys from working for any rank advancement, since just being a Scout seems to carry such weight. This should not discourage Eagles, nor discourage any Scout from working to get the Eagle rank. We should look at it this way:  Every Scout who earns an Eagle has done what ten of the twelve who walked on the Moon did not do, perhaps could not do. Nine more Moon walkers started on that path to Eagle, but did not finish, or could not finish.

Not every Eagle can go to the Moon, but every Eagle has already won an award that most of those who did go to the Moon wish they had.

Especially in the circles of corporate and government leadership, character, what it is and how to get it, concerns people. What sort of character does it take to go to the Moon? Every Scout has a glimpse of what is required, and every Eagle can say, “I know what it takes to get such character.”

Bibliography

Human Spaceflight, “The Apollo Program,” NASA, July 2, 2009; accessed April 28, 2011; http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/apollo/

Astronaut Fact Book, NASA,  NP-2005-01-001JSC, January 2005; accessed April 27, 2011; spaceflight.nasa.gov/spacenews/factsheets/pdfs/astro.pdf

BSA, “Facts About Scouting,” 2009; accessed April 28, 2011; http://www.scouting.org/about/factsheets/scoutingfacts.aspx

“Astronauts With Scouting Experience,” Eagle Scout Information, U.S. Scouting Service Project, April 6, 2011; accessed April 29, 2011; http://www.usscouts.org/eagle/eagleastronauts.asp

About the author:

Ed Darrell teaches U.S. History at Moises E. Molina High School in Dallas. He has taught economics, government, world history and street law in high schools; he also taught at the University of Utah, University of Arizona, and DeVry University. He is a former speech writer for politicians. His degree in Mass Communication came from the University of Utah, and his law degree from George Washington University. This was presented to the Jack Harbin Museum Symposium of Scout History, April 30, 2011.

World Scout badge carried to the Moon by Astronaut Neil Armstrong.

World Scout badge carried to the Moon by Astronaut Neil Armstrong.

 

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Photog (and Eagle Scout) Luke Sharrett leaving NY Times . . .

August 13, 2010

Go see the photos.  Seriously.  “The Capital was his classroom”, by David Dunlap.

Doubtless, there are other accomplished photojournalists in Washington who have won an Eagle Scout medal with bronze palm. Luke Sharrett of The Times may be the only one who earned his just six years ago.

And he is almost certainly the only photographer who’ll be leaving the D.C. press corps on Friday to start his junior year in college.

“Why are you doing that?” President Obama asked him as Air Force One was taking off the other day.

Dunlap does not say whether Sharrett earned the Photography Merit Badge.  Anyone know?


Oldest Eagle Scout, Walter Hart

July 20, 2010

Working to confirm, but news from Florida and a highly reliable source is that Walter Hart died over the weekend, at 91 by my calculations.

You would remember Hart as the oldest Eagle Scout, having gotten his award three years ago, when he was 88.

Mr. Hart should be remembered as a hero, and certainly as an inspiration to aspiring Eagle Scouts — especially those facing a short time to their 18th birthday.


Six Tiger Cubs grow into six Eagle Scouts

September 24, 2009

Six kids from Fort Bend, Texas, did what very few did.  From their start in a Tiger Cub Scout den 11 years ago, all six stuck with Scouting — and all six earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank award offered by the boy Scouts of America.

Here is the story in its entirety from the online publication Fort BendNow.com.

September 24th, 2009  |  by FortBendNow Staff | Published in News

Six young men, all members of the same Den 2 as Tiger Scouts, have earned the rank of Eagle Scout. The six boys began their scouting journey 11 years ago as they went through the Cub Scout program together then joined two different Boy Scout Troops.

Keith Wedelich, David Sackllah, Vincent Lau, Vijay Rajan, Edward Zhou, Bryan Parker at the Eagle Court of Honor Ceremony.

Keith Wedelich, David Sackllah, Vincent Lau, Vijay Rajan, Edward Zhou, Bryan Parker at the Eagle Court of Honor Ceremony.

Keith Wedelich of Boy Scout Troop 1631, and Vincent Lau, Bryan Parker, Vijay Rajan, David Sackllah, and Edward Zhou of Boy Scout Troop 441 were honored at a special ceremony to recognize their achievement at Christ United Methodist Church.  Family, friends, teachers, scouts, and adult volunteers attended the ceremony.  Troop 441 is chartered by Christ United Methodist Church and Troop 1631 is chartered by the Optimist Club of Sugar Land.

Only 1 in 4 boys in America will become a Boy Scout, and of those only 2 percent earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor a Boy Scout can achieve.

The ceremony was opened by Dennis Olheiser, Tomahawk District Commissioner, with introductions, followed by Chris Roberts, Boy

Scout Troop 441, who led the flag ceremony and provided a blessing for the ceremony.

Keith Wedelich, David Sackllah, Vincent Lau, Vijay Rajan, Edward Zhou and Bryan Parker as Cub Scouts at Wolf Rank.

Keith Wedelich, David Sackllah, Vincent Lau, Vijay Rajan, Edward Zhou and Bryan Parker as Cub Scouts at Wolf Rank.

Jim Rice, former Chairman of the Tomahawk District, and member of the Board of Directors of the Sam Houston Area Council BSA, gave a history of scouting and provided an introduction to a video of the 100 years of Scouting in America.

Scott Icenhower, Tomahawk District Advancement Chair, spoke on the significance of the Eagle Scout Rank; and Louis Alexander, Committee Chairman for Troop 441, spoke on the responsibilities of an Eagle Scout.

B.J. Bonner and Susan Fredericksen both spoke on the Trail to Eagle for the six scouts who started the journey 11 years ago.  A summary of their achievements and eagle projects were presented.

Rick Conley, Tomahawk District Chair, presented the Eagle Scout Rank Award to the Eagle Scouts and recognized the contributions of their parents.  Each Eagle Scout then spoke to thank those that have helped them along their journey and to share highlights of their scouting career so far.

Remarks were provided by Debbie Wedelich, the Den Leader for Den 2 in Cub Scout Pack 631, Jerre Parker, former Scoutmaster at Troop 441, and Arun Rajan, Committee Member of Troop 441 also spoke on the eagle scouts and how Boy Scouts had a profound effect on the families as well as the Eagle Scouts.

Jim Rice provided final comments and the ceremony concluded with a benediction and flag ceremony.  A reception was held immediately following the ceremony.

The Eagle Scouts

Keith Wedelich, Boy Scout Troop 1631, joined Cub Scouting in 1999 with Pack 631 and earned the Arrow of Light Award in December 2002, the highest award in Cub Scouts.  He joined Boy Scout Troop 1631 in January 2003.  Wedelich joined Troop 1631 as both of his brothers were members.  Wedelich held various positions of leadership in his Troop including scribe, quartermaster, assistant senior patrol leader, and Order of the Arrow representative.  He was elected by his Troop to the Order of the Arrow.  On the trail to Eagle, he earned 30 merit badges.

Wedelich’s scouting career has included all three high adventure camps; more than 50 miles of hiking in the mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, 75 miles of canoeing in the boundary waters of Canada at Northern Tier, and scuba diving in the Florida Keys at Florida Sea Base.  He also attended the 2005 National Boy Scout Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill Virginia.  He has more than 124 nights of camping, 134 canoe miles, 129 hiking miles.

For his Eagle Scout Service Project, Wedelich designed and led a crew to build a horse barn for Morning Glory Ranch, an organization that provides equine therapy for mentally and physically handicapped youth.  The horse barn is 12 foot by 12 foot and 10 feet tall.  The barn was built in a small pasture area where new horses are held for quarantine or horses that are ill or about to foal can be closely monitored.  Wedelich directed 20 people over six work days for a total of 320 man hours.  He also provided more than 200 hours of service to the community on various service projects.

Wedelich is a senior at Clements High School and is involved in the Clements Robotics Team, National Honor Society, Academic Decathalon, JETS, Mu Alpha Theta, choir and the computer science club.  His parents are Hank and Debbie Wedelich and he has one sister, Laura, 25, who earned the Girl Scout Gold Award.  His two brothers, Jeffrey, 24, and David, 23, are also Eagle Scouts from Troop 1631.

Vincent Lau, Bryan Parker, Vijay Rajan, David Sackllah, and Edward Zhou of Boy Scout Troop 441 all joined Cub Scouting in 1999 with Pack 631 and earned the Arrow of Light Award in December 2002, the highest award in Cub Scouts.  All then joined Boy Scout Troop 441 in January 2003.

Sackllah held various positions of leadership in Troop 441 including patrol leader, troop guide, and chaplain aide.  He was elected by his Troop to the Order of the Arrow.  On the trail to Eagle, he earned 22 merit badges.

Sackllah’s scouting career has included National Youth Leadership Training and he attended various summer camps.  He was also part of Frog Patrol which earned National Honor Patrol recognition.  David earned the God and Me Religious Award.

For his Eagle Scout Project, he wanted to create a friendly environment for the students using Settler’s Way Elementary Library.  Sackllah designed, built, and painted 12 flower-shaped tables.  He also re-shelved more than 10,000 books so the books would be in the correct order and easier to find.  He directed 24 people for a total of 148 man hours.

Sackllah is a senior at Clements High School and is involved in Clements Varsity Football, Student Council, PALS, and the National Honor Society.  He also volunteers as a “Dream League Angel” and is a volunteer coach for the First Colony Youth Basketball Association.  His parents are and Jimmy and Tracy Sackllah.

Lau held various positions of leadership in Troop 441 including assistant patrol leader, patrol leader, historian, troop guide, instructor, and assistant senior patrol leader.  Lau was elected by his Troop to the Order of the Arrow.  On the trail to Eagle, he earned 35 merit badges.

Lau’s scouting career has included National Youth Leadership Training in 2006; the New River Adventure Camp in Virginia in 2006; National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience in 2007; and 73 miles of hiking in the mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in 2008.  He was part of Frog Patrol which earned National Honor Patrol recognition.  Vincent also earned the World Conservation, Winter Camper, and Mile Swim awards.

For his Eagle Project, Lau designed and constructed four 6’ x 3’ x 2’ shelves and a 6’ x 7’ x 2’ lockable cabinet for Colony Bend Elementary School.  The shelves hold standardized storage bins filled with various props and musical equipment.  The lockable cabinet provides secure storage for costumes.  Lau brought together 20 volunteers over three work days to construct and install the shelves for a total of 390 man hours.

Lau is a senior at Clements High School and is involved in the robotics team, Clements Interact (currently hold Vice President position), Clements Earth, and ACES clubs.  He is also a member of National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and National Eagle Scout Association.  For the past three summers, he spent a total of 350 hours volunteering at Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) as an Ecoteen assisting the science summer camp counselors and giving science presentations to the public.  For his volunteer efforts at HMNS, he earned the President’s Volunteer Service Silver Award in 2008.  His parents are Lawrence and Linda Lau and he has a 15-year-old sister, Stacey.

Vijay Rajan held various positions of leadership in Troop 441 including patrol leader, troop guide, librarian, historian, and Order of the Arrow representative.  He was elected by his Troop to the Order of the Arrow.  On the trail to Eagle, he earned 38 merit badges.

Rajan’s scouting career has included an expedition at Philmont Scout Ranch, and various summer camps in Texas, and he earned the Mile Swim award.  He was also part of Frog Patrol which earned National Honor Patrol recognition.  Rajan earned the Dharma (Hindu) Religious Award as a Boy Scout.

For his Eagle Scout Project, Rajan planned and supervised landscaping for a garden courtyard and cleaning a pond for Kids Unlimited.  This non-profit organization benefits children with cancer.  Their 12-acre facility provides an atmosphere where their illness can be temporarily forgotten.  He directed 22 people for a total of 131 man hours.

Rajan is a senior at Clements High School and is involved in DECA, Rotary Interact and Indian Cultural Organization clubs. He hopes to major in Engineering and Business at College.

His parents are Arun and Padmini Rajan.

Edward Zhou joined Cub Scouts in 1998, and then joined Pack 631 when the family moved to Texas.  He held various positions of leadership in Troop 441 including patrol leader, troop guide, historian, and instructor.  He was elected by his Troop to the Order of the Arrow.  On the trail to Eagle, he earned 24 merit badges.

Zhou’s scouting career has included National Youth Leadership Training, two summer camps in Texas, and he earned the Mile Swim award.  He was also part of Frog Patrol which earned National Honor Patrol recognition.

For his Eagle Scout Project, Zhou designed and built a pair of storage shelves for the Chinese Civic Center.  The storage shelves were pre-built on the first day and then they were moved to the site, assembled and stocked.  He directed 14 people for a total of 133 man hours.

Zhou is a senior at Clements High School and is an active member of Rotary Interact and his high school debate team.  He is a National AP Scholar and a National Merit Semifinalist. He earned a “Distinguished Volunteer” award from the Chinese Civic Center in 2009.  His parents are John and Tina, and his brother Oliver is a student at UT Austin.

Bryan Parker held various positions of leadership in Troop 441 including assistant patrol leader, patrol leader, quartermaster, instructor, and senior patrol leader. Parker was elected by his Troop to the Order of the Arrow.  On the trail to Eagle, he earned 31 merit badges and camped over 135 nights.  He has also earned an Eagle Gold Palm.

Parker’s scouting career has included National Youth Leadership Training, New River Adventure in Virginia, the 2005 National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill Virginia, and hiking more than 150 miles during two treks at Philmont Scout Ranch including one selection as his trek’s crew leader.  He was also part of Frog Patrol which earned National Honor Patrol recognition.  Parker earned the God and Me Religious Award in 2001.

For his Eagle Project, Parker designed and constructed a storage cabinet for Colony Bend Elementary School to hold science equipment for various grades in a central, secure location.  He directed 14 people for a total of 94 volunteer hours.

Parker is a senior at Clements High School and is a member of the National Honor Society.  He plans to study Business at a major university next year.  His parents are Jerre and Maureen Parker and he has one sister, Heather, who has earned the Girl Scout Silver award.

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Robert McNamara, Eagle Scout

July 8, 2009

A few weeks ago I finally got a copy of “Fog of War,” at Half-Price Books.  I’ve watched it three times so far.

DVD box for Fog of War, Errol Morriss Academy Award-winning documentary

DVD box for Fog of War, Errol Morris's Academy Award-winning documentary

For a talking head documentary, it’s compelling, and interesting.  It may be just that I lived through the time, and hearing former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara explain now what was going on at various points . . . “Fog of War” is like a director’s cut DVD of the Vietnam War with Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg and Wilder all explaining every facet of what the director was doing.

Errol Morris’s interviews over the past few days are good, too.  Morris is the director of the movie.  He reminds us that he was making the movie before, and then in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center.  Wrong decisions about war were being repeated.

I was looking to find excerpts that might work in world history or U.S. history classes.  I’m not sure there is one, now.  It should be a powerful film for an AP U.S. history class, but probably assigned viewing rather than in-class.

For his part, Robert McNamara was never anything less than brilliant, even when wrong.  We often forget that he rose to his role as Secretary of Defense because of his being right when others were so wrong — at Ford Motor, McNamara was the one who saw the Edsel as a dismal failure and the wrong path, years before the ultimate failure of the marque, the man who saved Lincoln, the man who pushed the small car revolution in the Ford Falcon, the man who pushed safety packages with seatbelts before they were popular, or required. Even at Defense he was more capable that his predecessors, more careful, and more often right.  (Read that Miami Herald piece from Joseph Califano — it reveals the brilliance of Lyndon Johnson, too.)

McNamara’s descriptions of errors in the highest places are also brilliant in their insight.

With the possible exception of Eisenhower’s never-used apology and fault-accepting letter for the failure of D-Day, the Normandy invasion — never used because the invasion worked — have we seen a more forthright mea culpa and warning from any of our warriors about their own mistakes, and how to avoid them?

What drove McNamara to do that?

Learned something else yesterday:  Robert McNamara was an Eagle Scout.

Is that why it seems like he, almost alone among the architects of that horrible conflict, confessed to error in Vietnam? He was a man who could do almost anything, had done much, but at the most important time could not do whatever it was that was required to achieve a just peace, nor even an end to war. We don’t know yet what the right thing to do might have been.

There is much more to know from that chapter, from and about McNamara, than we have learned yet.  Perhaps McNamara’s passing will spur others to find copies of the movie, and study the Eleven Lessons Robert McNamara learned from Vietnam too late; perhaps others can now apply the lessons in time.

Robert McNamara talks about Vietnam to the press - National Archives photo

Robert McNamara talks about Vietnam to the press - National Archives photo

See the Washington Post’s gallery of photos of the life of Robert McNamara.

Tip of the old scrub brush to the discussions at Scouts-L.


What they’re saying about our 2 millionth Eagle

June 19, 2009

St. Paul Pioneer Press ran an article today on Anthony Thomas of Lakeville, Minnesota, the Scout designated the 2 millionth Eagle Scout.

Caption from the St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press:  Anthony Thomas, 16, of Lakeville, will encourage other Scouts to work towards the Eagle rank. (Pioneer Press: JOHN DOMAN)

Caption from the St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press: Anthony Thomas, 16, of Lakeville, will encourage other Scouts to work towards the Eagle rank. (Pioneer Press: JOHN DOMAN)

In a sort of luck-of-the-draw deal, Thomas has been named Scouting’s national youth ambassador for Scouting’s 100th anniversary in 2010.  He’s scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama, to ride in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, and for dozens of other less well-known affairs.

On Wednesday, he helped Northern Star Council celebrate the opening of a new Scout Camp, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

It was a special day, according to coverage at Northern Star Council’s website:

History was made as Thomas was introduced as the BSA’s two millionth Eagle by Minnesota State leaders. Making the presentation were Associate Justice Christopher Dietzen, Representative Kate Knuth and Representative Cy Thao.  Each shared their reflections on the importance of Scouting in their lives and then read a Proclamation from Governor Pawlenty declaring June 17 as “2 Millionth Eagle Scout Day” in Minnesota.

Scouting began awarding Eagle badges in 1912 — Thomas Eldred was the first Eagle.  The 1 millionth Eagle was awarded in 1982, 70 years later.  It’s been 27 years for the second million.  About 100 million boys are or were Boy Scouts since 1910.

You’d think this news would be a bigger deal.  Why isn’t this news going farther, faster?

Send this to your local newspapers and television stations — ask them to make a note of Thomas’s achievement, to encourage local kids.

More news stories:

Other resources:


Two million Eagle Scouts

June 18, 2009

Without editing, here’s the press release from Boy Scouts of America:

Minnesota Teen Named 2 Millionth Eagle Scout

Anthony Thomas to Represent 97 Years of Scouting Tradition and Honor, Serve as Youth Representative at BSA 100th Anniversary Events

Eagle Scout Anthony Thomas, Lakeville, Minn.

MINNEAPOLIS – June 17, 2009 – To describe one Minnesota teenager as “one in a million” is an understatement – by half. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) today announced that Anthony Thomas, 16, of Lakeville, Minn., has been named the 2 millionth Eagle Scout since the first Eagle badge was awarded in 1912.

Eagle Scout is the highest attainable rank in Boy Scouting and requires years of dedication and hard work. Scouts must demonstrate proficiency in leadership, service, and outdoor skills at multiple levels before achieving the Eagle rank. Fewer than 5 percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle badge.

Anthony, who will be a junior at Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minn., has been involved in Scouting since age 7. A member of the Northern Star Council’s Troop 471 at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minn., he credits Scouting for his love of the outdoors and commitment to service. Adopted from Korea, Anthony volunteers as a counselor to Korean adoptees at Camp Choson. He also is active in his church and recently lettered in Service at his school. Anthony will spend part of his summer in New Orleans to help with ongoing cleanup work from Hurricane Katrina.

“Anthony represents everything that the Eagle badge stands for: character, integrity, leadership, and service to others,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America. “It is fitting that we honor the 2 millionth Eagle as we prepare to celebrate 100 years of service to the nation.”

As the 2 millionth Eagle Scout, Anthony will serve as a youth ambassador for Scouting by participating in upcoming BSA’s 100th Anniversary events such as the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.; the BSA’s annual Report to the Nation in Washington, D.C.; and the National Scout Jamboree in 2010.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected as the 2 millionth Eagle Scout,” Anthony said. “The Eagle rank represents excellence and leadership at every stage of life, and I will do my best to honor those Eagles who have come before me and to encourage other Scouts to pursue the Eagle Award.”

In addition to the 21 merit badges required to earn Eagle rank, each Scout must complete an extensive service project that he plans, organizes, leads, and manages before his 18th birthday. For his project, Anthony designed and constructed devices to help train service dogs for Helping Paws of Minnesota, which provides dogs for disabled persons to further their independence. A key component of his project was to raise awareness for the organization and its mission. He accomplished this by arranging a service dog demonstration for his troop and coordinating a kick-off drive to encourage his fellow Scouts to earn their Disabilities Awareness merit badge.

Anthony’s parents, Jim and Cheryl Thomas, are active Scouting volunteers. Anthony also has a younger sister, Allison. In addition to Scouting, Anthony enjoys snowboarding, track, soccer, and playing the guitar.

“The fellowship of Eagles celebrates the milestone of the 2 millionth Eagle Scout,” said Glenn Adams, president of the National Eagle Scout Association. “Each Eagle represents a life of service to others and to the communities where Eagles live and work. We congratulate Anthony Thomas and look forward to working with him to help encourage other Scouts to pursue their Eagle.”

About the Boy Scouts of America
Serving nearly 4.1 million young people between the ages of 7 and 20 with more than 300 local councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.

###

Facts about Eagle Scouts

  • The first Eagle badge was awarded in 1912.
  • Fewer than 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earn the Eagle rank.
  • The 1 millionth Eagle Scout milestone was reached in 1982.
  • In 2008, a record-high 52,025 Scouts earned the Eagle badge.
  • In 2008, Eagle Scout service projects provided $16 million in service to communities across the nation (based on national volunteer hour value of $19.51).

  • Maryland Eagle Scout earns all 121 merit badges

    April 30, 2009

    Cody Evans confessed that Bugling was the toughest merit badge he had to earn, but unlike others in the recent past, he didn’t put it off to be the last one.  Congratulations to another member of the 121 Merit Badge Club.

    From the Frederick, Maryland, Gazette:

    Frederick resident and Eagle Scout Cody Evans has spent the last seven years learning skills most people won’t acquire in their lifetimes.

    The 17-year-old Gov. Thomas Johnson High School junior recently was awarded the last of the 121 obtainable merit badges in Boy Scouts of America in March, an accomplishment that the organization deems almost unattainable.

    Evans, who belongs to the Troop 1998 based out of the Elks Lodge in Frederick, said that though he had been involved in scouting for seven years, it was only in the last two that he realized that he was close to doing what very few scouts do in their Boy Scout careers. Realizing how close he was to getting the last badge, he became more motivated.

    “I never thought I had much time to earn them all until I got just over halfway there,” Evans said. “I thought, ‘I have a chance, why not just go for it.’ So, I started working hard to earn them all.”

    Evans has spent the last seven years learning to do everything from practicing veterinary medicine to driving a motorboat, even bugling, a skill he never anticipated having under his belt.

    “That was the hardest because I didn’t know how to play at all before,” Evans said.

    On March 14, Evans earned his last badge in energy. To complete the badge requirements, he had to build two projects that represented different forms of energy, which he demonstrated by building a slingshot and a sailboat.

    Evans had little words when asked how it felt to have such a big accomplishment.

    “I was overwhelmed,” he said. “Just happy that I was able to reach my goal.”

    But, he said that the badge requirements have made him a more well-rounded person and student, provided him valuable leadership skills, and he hopes it will reflect well on his resume when he applies for college. Evans is a National Honor Society member and vice president of the Student Government Association at TJ High.

    Despite achieving the highest of Boy Scout honors, Evans said he still has more goals in the organization. He said that he will apply to become an assistant scout master for his troop and help other scouts achieve their goals in the program.

    When asked what advice he would give to other scouts in Frederick, Evans said: “Set short goals, and start trying to knock a little off at a time when you can.”

    Other notes


    Never hike alone

    April 30, 2009

    Not even if you’re an Eagle Scout.

    Scott Mason of Halifax, Massachusetts, survived three nights on snowy Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.  He nursed his sprained ankle, and kept warm with fires he started using hand sanitizer.

    (Boston Globe) Mason later told his mother that he had tweaked his leg during the hike and that it was bothering him. As a precaution, he was taken to the Androscoggin Valley Regional Hospital, where he was evaluated and released.

    Back in Halifax, his troop issued a statement, “Boy Scouts of America Troop 39 Halifax, Massachusetts, is extremely pleased with the positive outcome of this incident. Scott is a bright young man and our most experienced hiker. We have no doubt that he put all of his training and skills to use in order to come through this ordeal.”

    Mason received an award two years ago for collecting more than 3,200 pounds of food for the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Pine Street Inn. For his Eagle Scout project, he collected the food by leaving boxes at Halifax area businesses. He has been a Boy Scout since he was 11.

    Not only is Scouting an adventure, it prepares you to get out of even your own mistakes.

    Tip of the old scrub brush to Randy Possehl on the Scouts-L list.


    Boy Scouts honor Gerald Ford (from archives)

    April 13, 2009

    I found this photo on the archived White House website; a marvelous shot of more than 120 Boy Scouts in the National Cathedral during the state funeral of President Gerald Ford.  Ford requested that Eagle Scouts turn out to pay their respects and support him in his final journey; at every stage of his funeral journey, Eagle Scouts saluted Ford, himself an Eagle Scout and the first to serve as president.

    Caption from the White House website (now archived):   Boy Scouts attending the State Funeral service for former President Gerald R. Ford at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., salute his casket as it leaves the cathedral, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007. White House photo by David Bohrer.  Photo in the public domain

    Caption from the White House website (now archived): Boy Scouts attending the State Funeral service for former President Gerald R. Ford at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., salute his casket as it leaves the cathedral, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007. White House photo by David Bohrer. Photo in the public domain


    Scout earns all 121 merit badges, in Ardmore, Oklahoma

    March 22, 2009

    Another Scout joined the exclusive club of those who earned all the possible merit badges.

    Wes Weaver, already an Eagle Scout, added the last of his merit badges late last month, according to KXII Channel 12 in Sherman, Texas (covering the border area around Lake Texoma).

    “In 2008, there were 20 scouts across the county who had gotten all 121 merit badges. I’m adding my name to that list,” Wes says.

    Eagle Scout Wes Weaver, of Ardmore, Oklahoma Troop 121 - earned all 121 merit badges - Ada Evening News photo

    But Weaver’s accomplishments don’t end with badges. The teen also earned his Eagle Scout award by building a 112-foot bridge over a creek bed in Lake Murray State Park. It was no easy task with the rugged terrain

    “Just digging the holes I was thinking I’m never going to be done. All my weekends are going to be spent out here digging holes,” Wes says.

    “It was scheduled to take between two to three months. It ended up taking a year and 6 months,” says Wes’s father, Rusty Weaver.

    Rusty helped his son plan out the bridge and construct it, along with the rest of Troop 112. Now all kinds of area bicyclists, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the state park a little more.  [video available here]

    Keeping with an interesting if perplexing tradition, bugling was the last merit badge he earned.  Weaver had aimed for 121 since he first became a Boy Scout, and his Scoutmaster, David Mannas challenged the troop to earn their Eagle rank and then go beyond the 44 merit badges Manass had earned.

    Many of Weaver’s merit badges were earned in the traditional fashion, at the many summer and winter camps he attended over the years. Weaver’s father, Rusty Weaver, became the Scoutmaster of Troop 112 and is a Climbing Director for Arbuckle Area Council. “My dad would be at camp two to four weeks a summer so I stayed at camp and took all the merit badge classes I could. Before I knew it, I had 80 merit badges.”

    He attends Plainview High School concurrently with Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, Regional Center and looks forward to finalizing his college plans.

    Weaver was recognized for his rare achievement at the Arbuckle Area Council Annual Recognition Banquet, Feb. 28 at Camp Simpson in Bromide. His parents are Trish and Rusty Weaver, Ardmore.

    Resources:

    Previous notes at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

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