Here’s another story from when I was in the Boy Scouts. It’s about ways I acted that embarrassed and disappointed me, but in the end gave me so much pride that I almost burst.
And it shows how the often helps you grow as a person.
The top three ranks in Boy Scouts are Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout. Eagle being the highest you can go.
To reach each of these positions requires the scout to display skills in outdoor stuff like fishing, camping, canoeing, cooking, etc. Camping is a big thing in scouting. But other stuff, like grades in school (they can’t fall below a certain level); helping other people, leadership, and gaining wisdom are important also.
I became a Star Scout before this story takes place. I was working on becoming a Life Scout and that’s where the embarrassment comes in. When a scout shows the skills that qualify him for his next higher rank the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters discuss his achievements and look at his behaviors, they talk to people in his community, and then they hold a meeting with the scout to interview him and tell him if he qualifies for the promotion – or not.
The time came for my interview for Life Scout, and I thought I was ready to step into that rank. The Scoutmaster and his assistants thought differently. They told me that I qualified as far as all the skills, and my grades were okay, but they didn’t feel that I displayed the leadership skills that a person needs to be a successful Life Scout.
They believed I knew how to be a leader, but my behavior didn’t show that I was a leader.
I didn’t step up and take charge in activities when the members of my patrol needed guidance.
I should mention here that my position as Star Scout was the highest rank of the Black Hawk Patrol, and I was the leader of that patrol.
Because the Scoutmaster and his assistants weren’t confident in my leadership skills, they decided not to advance me to Life Scout, at least not at that time.
My pride took a big hit when they told me that, and I came away from that meeting ashamed, and a little mad that they didn’t give me my Life patch. Then I started thinking over what they told me and realized they were right.
I wasn’t sure at that time how to prove to them that I should advance to the next rank. I thought I was already doing everything I was supposed to do.
So I decided to forget about the meeting and just enjoy myself. We had a Jamboree camping event coming up, and I really looked forward to it. I didn’t want to let not getting promoted spoil my pleasure during the camp out.
A Scout Jamboree is a big weekend event, and scout troops from all over come for contests and ceremonies. It’s a huge deal in scouting.
After we set our tents up I took the members of Black Hawk Patrol to gather firewood. We got back to the with more wood than we’d need, so I got the idea to use some of the extra wood to build camp furniture to make our site more comfortable.
We used rope to hold the pieces together. The table we built became the most functional item. We used it to fix our meals on, and to eat from.
When the Scout Counsel came around inspecting they gave the Black Hawk Patrol a number of ribbons for the , including a Blue Ribbon for the kitchen table.
Those ribbons meant some major points for our troop and because of my patrol’s activities that weekend the Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters acknowledged my leadership skills and made me a Life Scout. In their eyes I became a leader.
And that’s how my embarrassment and shame turned to a swelling of pride for me. And it shows how the camping life can teach you a thing or two about taking responsibility.