If you’re a regular viewer of the CBS show 60 Minutes, you probably caught the remarkable story last Sunday of a prep school in Newark, New Jersey. St. Benedict’s is a private school that enrolls boys from grades seven through twelve from a wide demographic but with a common thread – most come from underprivileged backgrounds and are susceptible to the dangers that come with it.
Yet, ninety-eight percent stick with it and graduate; most go to college and do well, with nearly ninety percent earning a college degree.
“They turn them upside down when they get their Bear badge??”
My wife incredulously asked me that as she showed me a picture that a friend of hers, a parent of a Cub Scout, had posted on Facebook. His son was dangling from his ankles as the Cubmaster pinned his badge on.
Sometimes, it seems that the Boy Scouts of America gets in the way of fulfilling their own aims.
Here’s an example, inspired by a post on Google Plus’s Scout Nation group, which featured a photo of rank advancement and merit badge insignia and cards ready for the Scouts to be awarded at the court of honor.
While helping a couple Cub Scout packs in my district with their rechartering this fall, we were trying to figure out how to juggle the few adult volunteers so that all the positions are filled. The Cubmaster doubles as the den leader for his son’s den (definitely not a recommended practice). They still needed an official den leader to satisfy the requirement to have at least one, so one of the den’s parents was “drafted” to be a DINO – Denleader In Name Only. The chartered organization representative doubled up as a committee member so there would be the minimum of three.
On one of his first episodes of the Scoutmaster Podcast, my friend Clarke Green offered an essay in tribute to Extraordinary people. I found it to be one of the most true-to-life descriptions of the kind of person who becomes a Scouter. At this time of Thanksgiving, I’d like to present Clarke with his essay from Scoutmaster Podcast number nineteen from 2010. It’s a bit over six minutes long, but I’m sure you’ll be nodding your head in astonishment that Clarke recognized the type of person you are.
If you’d like to read along or have the text, I’ve transcribed it and it can be found on the Roundtable Resources page. Clarke would want you to feel free to use it in your own unit or Scouting program as long as you give him credit.
From Clarke, and from me, Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for all you do in service to Scouting and to youth.