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February 20, 2009

In the Best Tradition of Scouting

Joe Charlebois

For those not familiar with the Boy Scout program, there is a reason that those who participate stay with it and become Eagle Scouts. They tend to go on and lead very successful lives (president, astronaut, corporate CEOs, great fathers and husbands).


Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent aren't only what the Scout Law that participants follow, they are standards that anyone should embrace.


A Scout is Trustworthy.


A Scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his promises. People can depend on him.


A Scout is Loyal.


A Scout is true to his family, friends, Scout leaders, school, and nation.


A Scout is Helpful.


A Scout cares about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward.


A Scout is Friendly.


A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.


A Scout is Courteous.


A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that using good manners makes it easier for people to get along.


A Scout is Kind.


A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. Without good reason, he does not harm or kill any living thing.


A Scout is Obedient.


A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them.


A Scout is Cheerful.


A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.


A Scout is Thrifty.


A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.


A Scout is Brave.


A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.


A Scout is Clean.


A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean.


A Scout is Reverent.


A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.


The Cub Scout program has a more simple "law," but no less significant.


The Cub Scout follows Akela.

The Cub Scout helps the pack go.

The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.

The Cub Scout gives goodwill.


The "Akela" (from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book) is a term for parent or leader, and is one who sets the good example for the Pack. The Cub Scouts learn to become leaders through helping and developing. The Cub Scouts also learn through giving to the community through various deeds.


In elementary school I was introduced to scouting and due to family circumstances left the program after just two years. With my parent's guidance, I continued – and still continue as an adult – to strive to follow these basic tenets. As an adult I have been reintroduced to the scouting program as my two boys are currently enjoying the Boy Scout's Cub Scout program.


The scouting program has decreased in size over the past few decades as sports and other activities have taken on greater significance at an ever increasing younger age. But I highly encourage any young man to join scouting no matter the age.




Why do I bring up the Scout Law and Scouting? Our young men come into contact with leaders who are great role models, share life's experiences, demonstrate leadership, have fun, and possibly most importantly, meet people who care about their growth as an independent and successful individual.


I have seen the Scout Law embodied in the person of John Andrew Miller. John was one of the leaders in Cub Scout Pack 799. John Miller, whom I wrote about last week left us Tuesday evening to be with God.


John exemplified all 12 points of the Scout Law (Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent). In my lifetime I have not met many people who embodied so many of these as did John.


I am confident that he impacted everyone he met as he has me. He was loved; he will be missed, we were lucky to have him as an "Akela."


(Editor’s Note: John Andrew Miller was injured in an accident at The Banner School when the scaffolding on which he was working collapsed. He passed away at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore on February 17, 2008.)


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