One hundred years ago this week, Arthur Eldred of Troop 1 in Oceanside, New York became the first to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, a short two years after the Boy Scouts were established in America. Since then, about 2.1 million boys have gone on to earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest rank in Scouting. This equates to about 2% of the 115 million boys who have been in Scouting over the years. During that time, the requirements for the honor have changed, but the constant has been the consistently high caliber of men the rank produces.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is an award that is given for life, ‘always an Eagle” the saying goes. What’s often referred to as the PhD of boyhood is exactly that, a confidence in a wide array of skills that few others pick up until later in their lives, if ever. It’s an honor that follows men around the rest of their lives. In offices everywhere, resumes marked by the Eagle Scout recognition get moved to the top of the pile. It’s a distinction that men, many years past their courts of honor, list in their obituaries.
There’s a responsibility that accompanies a lifetime award. As any Eagle Scout will tell you, when a fire needs to be started, when a knot needs to be tied, or when a map needs to be read, heads turn toward you. But that responsibility also carries a honing of skill. Seldom a day goes by when I don’t practice a skill I first learned as a Boy Scout. Continue reading “Reflections on the Eagle Scout Award Turning 100”