Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scouting Regrets

Most of us regret decisions we made when we were young, some more than others. I regret not advancing to Eagle Scout when I was a boy. I stayed in scouts until I was eighteen, and then beyond in Explorers, the Order of the Arrow, and as an Assistant Scoutmaster, but I didn’t earn the rank of Eagle. I also regret not earning the religious emblems for my faith, the Parvuli Dei and the Ad Altare Dei. Now that Alex is about to start Cub Scouts, I see that there are things that I will ask of him that I failed to do myself. And since I fully expect to become an active leader in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, I’ll be asking the boys I lead to do the same. As a boy, I looked up to my leaders, and I hope the boys I lead look up to me, and I’m sure they will, even without these achievements. Maybe it is just in my head, but somehow, having earned these recognitions, I would have made a better Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader.

Even with my regrets, I do not consider my Scouting experience a failure, in fact, nothing could be further from my mind. While I didn’t spend much time working on requirements, I spent a lot of time on service projects and the scouting organization itself. While I didn’t obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, I worked on many Eagle Scout service projects for others. I was also one of the most active members in my Order of the Arrow chapter, which during a typical month required much more time than troop and patrol commitments. Most of that time was spent doing things for the district, council, and troops beyond my own. I think I earned the backpacking merit badge, but even if I didn’t, that was my favorite troop activity, and I spent a lot of time as an older boy helping the younger boys learn the ropes of camping and backpacking. This was my scouting experience, and while I have regrets, I’m not sure I would have done it differently. Maybe it will prove to be valuable experience in mentoring boys who may have interests other than advancement and recognition.

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