I am often asked by parents why I stuck with scouting after I turned 18. What exactly is it that has kept me around since I don’t have any children in the program. They are quite surprised when I tell them that I never earned my Eagle. In fact, I was never a scout at all.
Twelve years ago, I was still a senior in high school. Up to this point I had zero interest in Boy Scouts. I had the mindset that it was a weird program and definitely was not a fit for me. You know stereotype I am referring to. Over the course of the previous two years I had become close with a bunch of younger guys in my drafting class. Oddly enough it took a class project to bring it all together.
Our drafting class was given a project to design props and stage systems for the spring play. The woodshop class would take our designs and build them. Once built, we were asked to take part in the first (I don’t know if they still do it or not) stage crew. Working with each other for weeks on the project, our classroom acquaintance became a friendship.
Naturally as friends you want to do more together and hang out. I was told about an upcoming camping trip that everyone was taking with their Boy Scout Troop. All I had to do to come along was fill out a permission slip. That Wednesday I went to their meeting to fill out the form. Chuck sat down with me and presented me a mostly completed form. Basically all I had to do was enter my address and sign, which I did. Little did I know, I was actually signing an adult application.
As time went on, I attended more and more meetings and events. I left for college, but came home nearly every weekend. Why did I come home? A strong bond was formed between me and my friends. That bond can be mostly attributed to connection scouting creates through teamwork, trust, and respect for one another.
My roles in the Troop have changed through the years and many friends have gone their separate ways. But the reason I am here today having the fun I am having all goes back to a high school friendship, a little trick, and a signature.