Archive for the ‘Eagle’ Category


As a scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68, I have seen seventeen young men earn the Boy Scouts of America’s highest award, the rank of Eagle Scout. During most of the Eagle courts of honor, the new Eagle Scout will at some point stand up before the audience of friends and family and talk about his time in Scouting, and thank those who have helped him get to this point of his life.

Troop 68′s latest Eagle Scout is Mike Schwieters. Mike finished his Eagle award with only days to spare before his eighteenth birthday. Mike was an active member of the troop throughout his teen years, and still volunteers to help the troop if we need it when he is home from school. He is now in his second year of college and remains a good friend.

As Mike’s Eagle court of honor came to its closing, Mike stepped forward to say a few words to those who gathered for his special day. His speech was full of memories and some humor, but it also hit a few points that were good for the younger Scouts to hear. He spoke about how to treat others in the troop, and to take the challenge and earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Mike’s Eagle court of honor was held last May, and ever since then I have wanted to post the video of his closing comments. He stopped by for a visit this weekend so I asked him if he minded if I would post the video to this podcast. He did not mind, so here it is for you to view. I hope you and your sons and Scouts enjoy it and take as much away from it as the members of our troop did.

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    A year ago I wrote about my trip to a Hallmark Store before Christmas and discovering an ornament featuring Snoopy, the Beagle Scout, roasting marshmallows around a campfire with Woodstock and a couple of his friends. I left the store with two of the ornaments, one to hang on the tree and one to store away.

    Out of curiosity, the other day I decided to check the Hallmark website to check if there was a new Snoopy ornament this year. Guess what? There is! The new ornament is called “Beagle Scout Day Out” and features Beagle Scout Snoopy canoeing with his yellow bird friends. It is pretty cool.

    On Saturday I will be traveling to St. Cloud for an activity with the Boy Scout troop. You can bet that I will try to find a minute or two to stop at a Hallmark store to pick up a couple of these new ornaments. Of course, if I really wanted to, I could order it online at the Hallmark website, but why wait for it when I can get it sooner.

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      You have got to check this out. Mike Rowe, the star of the television show Dirty Jobs, recently wrote a post to his blog in response to a letter written by a parent of a Boy Scout who wants to quit Scouting because it is not “cool” to his friends. Mike, who happens to be an Eagle Scout, wrote an excellent article. You can check it out at:
      http://blogs.discovery.com/mike_rowe_answers/2008/11/mike-offers-a-p.html

      Here is a small except from it:
      “Your Dad asked me to drop you a line and say something inspirational that might persuade you to dig down deep and find the determination to make the rank of Eagle Scout. It’s a reasonable request, from a father who obviously wants to see his son succeed. But here’s the thing – The Eagle Award is not really meant for people who need to be dragged across the finish line. It’s meant for a select few, and I have no idea if you have the guts to see it through.”
      .

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        There is an article in The Arizona Republic that is a great news story about Boy Scouting. Most families are happy to boast about having one Eagle Scout. How would you like to be part of a family with four generations of living Eagle Scouts? You can read about it at
        http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/05/27/20080527eaglescouts0527.html

        Here is a portion of the article…

        Thomas Shelton Boggess Jr. met President Herbert Hoover for a brief photo shoot in 1931, but his visit today with President Bush today means much more to him.

        That’s because Thomas Jr., 96 and in failing health, will be among four generations of Eagle Scouts in his family meeting the president when he arrives at Sky Harbor International Airport.

        Thomas Jr., who lives in a Phoenix assisted-living center, fought back tears Monday when asked what it means for him to meet the president with four generations of his family.

        “I’m very proud of him,” Thomas Jr. said of his great-grandson, Thomas Shelton Boggess V, 13, known to his family as Shelton. “He did it especially for me. He wasn’t selfish.”

        Shelton, of Flagstaff, said he organized a crew of 15 boys who built a fence around a church as an Eagle Scout project. Shelton said he knew the clock was ticking for his great-grandfather.

        His father, Thomas Shelton Boggess IV, 41, a Flagstaff home builder, said his son expedited the badge process. It’s more typical for a boy to achieve the Eagle Scout rank at 15 or 16.

        “It makes me feel very special and important to our family,” said Shelton, an eighth-grader at Northland Preparatory Academy. “I knew it was a great honor for him.”

        His great-grandfather said, “All the gold in Fort Knox wouldn’t compare to what it meant.”

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          When I create a slideshow to be shown at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, I use the programs that are included in the iLife suite, namely iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, and iDVD. I like the way they work seamlessly together. I realize that there are simular programs for Windows based computers, but from what I have been told, they require more work then using iLife.

          Now that I have my Macintosh vs. Windows comparison out of the way, here are the things I keep in mind when preparing an Eagle Scout slideshow.

          a) Find the right music. The music needs to be appropriate for an Eagle Court of Honor. It could be something that represents the Eagle Scout. The lyrics should be family friendly, and not contains inappropriate words or suggestive language.

          b) The a song, or songs, in which a four count or eight count beat is about 5 or 6 seconds long. I like to transition the photographs to the song beat and have found that 5 to 6 seconds per picture seems to be long enough for the audience to see each photo without being so long that they grow bored.

          c) Keep the length of the slideshow from four to six minutes long. If it is too short you will not be able to include many photographs. If it is too long it can drag down a court of honor. I have found that one long song or two short songs seem to work well.

          d) I start the slideshow with pictures of the Eagle Scout when he was a young boy. As the show proceeds, we watch as the Scout grows older. I like to include pictures of his years in Cub Scouting if they are available. I also like to include a few family pictures.

          e) I include pictures that are serious in nature along with some silly ones. I also include pictures from courts of honor, high adventure trips, and his Eagle service project. Mix them up, make sure there is a variety.

          f) I try to get at least two giggles from the audience with each slideshow. And an ear to ear grin from the Eagle Scout and his parents.

          g) I begin with each picture zoomed in on the Scout, and then pull back to show the whole photo. I try to keep the zooming at a slower speed to avoid any motion sickness type of feeling. For the last two photos, which include the “Eagle Scout” photograph and perhaps a graduation photo, I begin with the full picture and slowly zoom in for a closeup.

          h) The timing on the last two pictures is twice as long as the timing on the rest of the photographs, usually about ten or eleven seconds long. It lets people know the end of the show is near.

          i) During those last two photos I will add some titles along the bottom of the screen which include: The Scout’s name, The words “Eagle Scout”, and the date of his Eagle board of review.

          So, there you have it. That is my formula for a successful Eagle Scout slideshow. You can view a few of the slideshows I have done at http://melrosetroop68.org/videos.html

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            Since I became the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 68, I have had every Eagle Scout court of honor videotaped for our local cable television access station. This weekend I taped the seventeenth ceremony. It was a great court of honor. I am probably as proud as each of the parents when the Eagle Award is pinned onto the Scout’s uniform.

            As the date approached for the tenth Eagle court of honor in 2002, I was getting a head start on producing the television program by preparing the opening titles. I was using several photographs I had taken of the Scout over the years and putting together a 60-90 second slideshow over which I planned to put the opening titles.

            It was working out pretty well when I received a call from the Scout’s mother. She was concerned that one of the speakers would be arriving a few minutes late for the court of honor and what could be done to fill some time until he arrived. I looked at my computer screen and explained what I was working on, and then suggested that we could add more photographs and make it part of the ceremony. She thought that was an excellent idea. After she hung up she began looking for photographs from his Cub Scout years to add to the slideshow.

            During the next week we were scanning photographs and trying to get this done in time for the court of honor. The date of the ceremony finally arrived, as did the speaker, right on time. Oh well, the slideshow was now part of the program so we showed it, and everyone loved it.

            I have had to do a slideshow for each Eagle Scout since then. To tell the truth, I do not mind. The Scout, his parents and family, and the members of the audience have always enjoyed watching the shows. Everyone likes seeing how this young man has grown doing his Scouting years.

            This weekend I attended the court of honor of my seventeenth Eagle Scout. (My Eagle Scout??) Mike helped with this slideshow, choosing the music and the pictures from my photo collection. His parents were not involved in the preparation of the slideshow. He wanted it to be a surprise to them. Everyone at the ceremony enjoyed the show, including his parents, and got a few chuckles from some of the photographs we included.

            Mike has given me permission to share this video with you. I hope this will be an example of something you could add to your troop’s Eagle courts of honor, if you are not already doing it.

            This video will not have the PTC media logo or the MSPP logo at the beginning of the video. I just did not feel comfortable adding them to an Eagle Scout video.

            If you enjoy this video I would appreciate hearing from you. Do you do anything like this in your own troop? Drop me a line and let me know by emailing me at webmaster@melrosetroop68.org, or at the PTC Media forums, or by going to my iTunes feed. Thank you.

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              I will be attending an Eagle Scout court of honor today. It is for the seventeenth Boy Scout to attain this rank since I became the scoutmaster of Troop 68 in 1981. Am I proud of this Scout? You bet I am, as I am proud of each of the young men of Troop 68 who have earned this recognition. I am looking forward to attending this ceremony.

              One part of the ceremony that I always enjoy, that has been a part of many of the Eagle Scout courts of honor that I have attended, is when a young man (or two) who previously earned the rank comes forward to the podium and recites the Trail To The Eagle. Not only does it bring back memories for the new Eagle Scout, his friends, and his parents, but it also gives the rest of the audience a small idea what this Scout had to accomplish on the way to this lofty goal.

              At this time, I would like to include the Trail To The Eagle as a part of this blog entry:

              This is the trail to the Eagle, the Eagle whose heights you struggled to reach. We remember well when you first came to the base of the cliff, and how you looked up with ambition and determination. Look back for a moment, look back over the cliff you have climbed; look back at the experience you have encountered in your ascent. These experiences should not be forgotten, and you should profit by making sure that the adverse ones do not occur again. Experience is a valuable teacher if you heed its teachings.

              We remember when you took your first step upon the trail that leads upward. With your first step, you began living the Scout Oath and Law. While you were on the trail, we watched you study and then we watched you learn by doing. First you were only a candidate, building yourself physically, mentally, and morally. Then your brother Scouts called you a Tenderfoot and they were right, you were indeed a Tenderfoot. But not for long, for soon you reached the first ledge where you were greeted by a group of Second Class Scouts. Some, like yourself, were stopping to catch their breath before continuing along the Eagle trail.

              You began to study more, you worked harder, and almost before you knew it, you came to another ledge, the ledge where First Class Scouts dwell. There you found a tempting green meadow by a crystal clear stream, bathed by the sun. Here you were tempted to remain. Yes, you could have remained there to live in First Class glory, but your ambition stirred you on.

              We remember your progress to Star Scout. You found the trail from First Class had been an optical illusion, not as difficult as it has seemed. This spurred you on, and again you climbed higher. Now the trail was steeper, it was less worn. Fewer Scouts seemed to be heading in your direction. You looked back and saw the crowds below you. You looked up and saw the few above you.

              With the same determination with which you started your climb, you continued up the trail to the second peak, Life rank. The heart badge was then placed on your uniform. You will never forget the thoughts in your heart. It has been experienced by most Scouts on reaching the ledge of Life. “Now I am close to Eagle. I will carry on.” The trail became tougher, but more interesting. The original simple principles, the Scout Oath and Law, now had a fuller meaning. Your understanding of them was greater.

              Yes, we have watched your character unfold and become manly. We have watched your leadership ability expand into a valuable asset. We have watched your mind develop and your wisdom increase. We have watched all of these things in you. Now that you are at the threshold of your goal, we welcome you. For you have done your climbing in a true Scout-like-manner. This is the trail to the Eagle.

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                Are you a committee member or a committee chairman of a Boy Scout Troop? Do you have a scoutmaster who has been doing an outstanding job? Is he trained? Are most of the boys in your troop First Class Rank or higher? If your scoutmaster has been performing well then you owe it to him to look into recognizing him with the Scoutmaster Award of Merit which is presented to deserving scoutmasters through the National Eagle Scout Association.

                Here are the Requirements:
                (The nominee need not be an Eagle Scout.)
                • Be registered as Scoutmaster and have served in that position for at least 18 months.
                • The unit must have achieved the Quality Unit Award at least once during the Scoutmaster’s tenure.
                • Must have completed Boy Scout Leader Fast Start and Scoutmastership Fundamentals (or equivalent).
                • Must have a record of proper use of the Boy Scout advancement program, resulting in a majority of his Boy Scouts attaining the First Class rank.
                • Nominee must have a record of:
                o Development of boy leadership through the patrol method
                o Positive relations with the troop’s chartered organization
                o Extensive outdoor program including strong summer camp attendance
                o Positive image of Scouting in the community
                o Troop operation that attracts and retains Boy Scouts.

                Procedure:
                The chairman of the troop committee has the responsibility of nominating the Scoutmaster on behalf of the patrol leader’s council and the troop committee. The nomination is certified by the unit commissioner and forwarded to the local council. Approval authority lies with the Scout executive.

                For more information and an application you can check HERE on the NESA site.

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