Standing still in the quiet beauty that has seized my mind, body, and spirit, I look out across the half muddy, half frozen river running beside me. I watch the naked trees dancing in the wind as I take in the wondrous spirit of the 10 cub scouts who have joined us on our hike this crisp winter afternoon. I observe their joy as they explore the frozen terrain. I watch in awe, wondering if they truly know they are learning; learning to respect nature, explore the land, expand their minds, and let their spirits soar. As I watch, I allow my focus to shift inward, wondering “why” this is important to me? “Why” being a Scout Leader has taken priority over many other things I could choose to do with my time? Many things came to my mind that winter morning and there is a long list of reasons behind “why” I am a Scout Leader. I turn back to gaze at the river one last time before moving on and think, “money cannot buy what I am witnessing this very morning: watching these boys explore their world and grow from young curious boys into fine young men.” THAT is “why” I am a Scout leader.
As I reflect back over the last 10 years of my life, I am extremely grateful for 1 decision that I did not know would have such a huge impact on my family’s life. Our oldest son Kyle let it be known that he wanted to become a Cub Scout. I had been a Scout, his grandpa had been a Scoutmaster, his uncle had been a Scout and his mom, too, was a Scout. Our family was unaware of the changes that would follow in our lives after that one little request.
After 10 consecutive years as a Volunteer Cub Scout Leader, I know that Scouting lays a foundation of life skills that you do not get anywhere else. My experience in the program has taught me so many things I couldn’t even begin to list them all. Most of those things being “life experiences” you just cannot get anywhere else.
Taking a look at the statistics, it is undeniable. “One in four boys in America will become Scouts, but it is interesting to note that of the leaders of this nation in business, religion and politics, three out of four were Scouts.” Other Scouting statistics show: Of 100 Boys in Scouting, Only rarely will one appear in juvenile court, 12 will receive their first church contact through Scouting, 18 will develop hobbies that will give them a lifelong interest, 8 will find their future life vocations, 1 will use Scout skills to save another’s life, 1 will credit Scout skills with saving his own life, 2 of the 100 will reach the Eagle Rank, 17 will later become leaders in Scouting and will pass on their skills, inspiration and leadership to countless youth.
I strongly believe that the Scouting programs offered to our youth today play a vital role in shaping the future leaders of our country. Without the proper support of these programs through monetary giving, or more valuable than that, the volunteering of “time”, these programs will fail. As a result of that failure, our future leaders will be less prepared to deal with the issues of their time.
Some of the richest times in our lives have been spent with our Scouting family. Countless hours at Scout camps, road trips, rock climbing, hiking, fishing, canoeing, the list of fun goes on and on. We didn’t know when we made that one little decision that it would change our lives in such awe-inspiring positive direction. I for one, am sure glad that my son requested to be Scout all those years ago. I have so enjoyed teaching my children, learning from them, and watching them grow into the future leaders of tomorrow.
With 2010 being the 100th Anniversary of Scouting in America, I would like to honor my promise of doing my “Duty to God and my Country” and encourage you to get involved with your local Scouting Packs/Troops or Crews. Contact the Boy Scouts of America. Log on here to find out more information: http://www.scouting.org/join.aspx. Volunteer your time. You do not have to be a parent to care about the future of our country, and the people who will be running it. I would like to challenge you today to step up to the plate, make a difference in the lives of our children, of OUR future leaders. It might just be you who learns a thing or two. It might just be you who grows in leaps and bounds. Look around, life happens whether we show up to the party or not.
Lead, Follow or Get Out Of the Way.
D.W. Boyce is a Navy Veteran, 10+ year Scout Leader and the author of The “On My Honor” Series. 6 of the 12 books that coincide with the Boy Scout Law have already been published. Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, and Kind.
D.W. Boyce gives all the glory to God for these stories. Inspired by his love for children and his heart for learning from each individual one, he knows only God could have cultivated such a love in his heart.
D. W. Boyce lives in Mahomet, Illinois with his wife and love of his life, Tasha Marie. They have been married for 23 years and have 5 children, Destiny, Ashley, Kyle, Zachery & Noah. Many of the things you read in the On My Honor Series is about their actual life. We’ll never tell which parts are true and which parts are fiction.