In the 80s, I volunteered with a Boy Scout Troop. My son was the right age to join Scouting, and it provided a great opportunity to spend time doing fun things together.
Soon I was recruited to be Assistant Scoutmaster, and eventually Scoutmaster of Troop 404 in Pampa, Texas. We went camping and hiking in the mountains, and did the fun stuff Scouts do. In that time I noticed several things I’d like to share.
A small crowd watched at dusk yesterday as the American flag was slowly lowered and removed from the flagpole outside the museum — then carefully folded by eleven area Boy Scouts.
It will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.
The flag had flown at half-staff since Ford’s death on December 26th. A new flag has been raised in its place.
Ford is the only president ever to have attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
The region’s Boy Scout Council bears his name.
Ford’s presidential library is in Ann Arbor.
Not-so-Secrets of Scouting
My first observation is the importance of parental involvement with the program. The boys with active parents are the most likely to excel in the challenges of Scouting.
The second observation is the importance of role models. By the time my son got involved in Scouting, Gerald Ford had served his term as President but he became the role model for many of the boys. Former President Ford was always proud of his affiliation with Scouting, and never missed an opportunity to promote the program.
Only two percent (2%) of boys entering the program achieve the rank of Eagle. 2%! Eagle Scouts form an elite group, and the rank is for a lifetime.
As boys got closer to gaining Eagle status, Gerald Ford would become a topic of discussion around our meeting, showing how the skills learned in Scouting could propel an individual into the highest office in our country. Our troop was above average during the time I spent with Troop 404. We had a much higher than 2% Eagle attainment, all owed to the active parents.
The boys that made Eagle, were the boys with active parents (there is no other way to say it). They attended and helped with meetings or served on our troop board. They made a priority of attending camp trips, helping teach subjects like First Aid and Pioneering, and other vital life lessons.
I was saddened to hear the news about former President Ford, but extremely proud of his continued status of Eagle Scout. May he ever be …