How Scouting Changed My Life

I thought I was going somewhere very cool when we descended the stairway into that old Department Store basement In Southwest Tulsa near where the Stove Hospital stands today. No one was around upstairs but there was a beehive of activity downstairs. I had just discovered the world of Scouting through Troop 28, sponsored in those days by the Red Fork Lions Club. I was eleven years old. 

We met, we learned, we camped out together in all kinds of weather. We had fun, we met new people and we enjoyed the strong leadership of a great group of parents and community leaders. These relationships helped form my character and widen my horizons in the Great Outdoors. 

We learned how to build fires in the rain, cook over a hot bed of coals from a campfire we built. We tied all kinds of knots to build all kinds of things. As we advanced through the ranks and added merit badges to our sashes, we began to learn how to lead others in Patrols we named ourselves. 

Scouting celebrates almost 110 years of this kind of youth development today. We will be led in a Presentation of the Colors before our Kids On Fire group this morning and enjoy the presence of a new generation of Scouts who are eager to have the same experiences I enjoyed. 

I am grateful to my parents for taking me to that Scout Meeting that night. I am also grateful for my mother who pinned every pin for each new rank on her dress. I am blessed that my father loved to camp out and cook and drink coffee with the men. My leaders pointed me in the right direction and encouraged me to learn and grow and advance. They taught me about things I had never heard of and helped me find resources to learn for myself. I am proud to be an Eagle Scout. 

 I am a different man today because of these experiences. We have every reason to believe these boys (and girls) will be different as they grow and mature. Let’s do everything we can to help them grow.