Our troop celebrated the advancement to Eagle Scout of Nathan T last fall. While every Eagle Scout Court of Honor is special, this one was noteworthy because the new Eagle took the time to think, write and deliver an address to those present, especially the younger Scouts in the room. I asked him to share the speech so it could be on our website. (Thanks, Nathan!) Click READ MORE to read his speech.
Delivered on 23 Nov 2013 at the State Bank of the Lakes Community Room:
Thank you all for coming today to celebrate with me!
Throughout my scouting journey I have learned a lot, from how to tie a bowline to how a group structure works, and I still have so much to learn.
Favorite merit badges- kayaking because of wet exits and entrances, swimming because it was so challenging being taught by Navy Seals at Great Lakes, and aviation, my first one, because I flew a plane.
Some favorite campouts/trips: porcupine hiking trip with Mr. Wehde; Jamboree 2010 & 2013, the Skating campout (my first as official SPL) because I love to skate.
When I first crossed over from Cub Scouts, I didn’t know what to expect from Boy Scouts. It was a boy-run troop, with a whole lot of new things to learn. When I joined, I was a learner, and was trying to soak in as much information as I could, and that required the older scouts to teach me. If it weren’t for the older scouts, like Jason Lewitske, Mark and David Bryant, Frank Busch, and Michael White, I wouldn’t be standing up here right now. As I progressed through the ranks, I got to teach skill sessions, and I unknowingly became a teacher. For you younger scouts, your job isn’t just to advance through the ranks and merit badges, but to be good students and be part of a team. If you do that, responsibility and leadership will come naturally. You’ll see that the troop doesn’t work unless everyone participates. Your role is to learn and have fun and to soak up as many skills as the older scouts can put in front of you. And you older scouts, you are being watched constantly. Every example that you set is being watched by the new scouts.
Proudest moment is also one of my most difficult ones, when I ran my first campout as SPL. I saw how everything fell into place, and I thought it was really cool. I saw that all the little details worked out just right, because all the planning that goes into them. An SPL has very long days, first up, last to bed, and responsible for everything in between. It was a humbling experience and a lot of work.
My advice to younger scouts: you learn something at every troop meeting and campout. You have fun regardless of you realizing you’re learning or not. When I first started, I didn’t really understand what was going on at the meetings; they were using words that confused me, and I was trying to find my place in the troop. But during one meeting the summer of 2009 I was talking to my friend Ben during a skill session *of course* and something happened that was just hilarious. I remember myself sitting in my chair in the front, dying of laughter, and I had an epiphany. “I really like being here!” and from then on, I’ve looked forward to Monday nights.
Another thing. A good rule of thumb that I use is if you laugh at any given time while doing something, then it was worthwhile to do it. That works for school, scouts, or anything else.
Don’t be afraid of cleaning. KP is really easy, no matter what job you have. Make it fun! Sing a song, dance around, do whatever while you’re working. And cleaning Dutch ovens may be scary at first, but when you think about it, it’s not that bad. It just takes time. My first couple of years I was cleaning every Dutch oven my patrol gave me, because I was the only one that realized that, and I really didn’t mind.
A lot of new scouts in the troop can relate to a new SPL. Usually, when a senior scout gains that rank, they are starting over just like you new scouts. There’s so much to learn. Younger scouts look to your peers and guides while the new SPL looks to Mr. Klemens and the adults for guidance. On my first campout as SPL, we were luging in Chestnut, and at the end of the second night after rose, bud, thorn, my dad asked me how everything was going, and I said “It’s HARD”…I was exhausted. The SPL has so many responsibilities, like waking everyone up on campouts or motivating the troop on Sunday mornings when we’re tired and just want to sleep. So, next time you younger scouts asks why the SPL doesn’t do any work on campouts…you’ll see.
I knew I wanted to get my Eagle rank during the time when all of the older scouts in the troop started getting theirs, like Frank Busch, Mark Bryant, Andrew Stolcers, Michael White, Jason Lewitske, Jason Lehman, and Dan Albright. I had a lot of fun in the troop, because there was no shortage of service projects, which I love to do. During this time, I thought it was the normal thing to do, and that everyone eventually got their Eagle. My advice here is to start your projects early, give yourself plenty of time so that you can have a ‘really good time’ with your friends.
Thank you all for your support over the past five years. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned and got to experience so much more than I ever I could’ve if I wasn’t in scouts. I’m not done. I’m almost 16 and I’m looking forward to the next two full years as an Eagle Scout in Troop 96
Things don’t just happen in the troop. There is someone behind every blue card you get, every merit badge, every trip we take. We’re very fortunate to have a large group of active and dedicated parents and leaders.
Thank all the people that do all the behind the scenes work, like Mrs. Bryant, Mrs. Judge, Mr. McCall, Mr. Mathews
Thank people that have really helped me mature, like Mr. Wehde, Mr. Symonds, Mr. Klett being my recent Jamboree Scoutmaster, Mr. Cambio, Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Mack, and Mr. DeKeyser. All of you have really helped me grow and I’m glad you’ve been here in Troop96
I’d especially like to thank Mr. Klemens for everything you do, particularly the countless hours you put into the troop that most of us don’t see but we know have to get done in order for us to have the best troop in America.
I’d like to thank my Mom and my Dad.
One person in particular who has always kept an eye out for me, answered any questions I had, helped me with merit badges, and been a great role model and helpful to me. Can Mr. Ostick come to the front please?
Thank-you Mr. Ostick. Scouting has been a huge amount of fun and the best thing to happen in my life. I’m not done yet! I’ve made some of my best friends through the troop, and I have more time to give back to the troop…I want to do more. Thank-you very much!