“Be prepared” is the Boy Scout motto, which in my estimate is the most misunderstood yet best description of Scouting. Looking in retrospect at my own path to Eagle Scout, I realize how little I did to achieve the honor, in relation to what others did in assisting and directing me.
My parents and community worked to provide a “structure” so young boys in Garber could develop good citizenship, responsibility and social skills to benefit others, as well as ourselves. A Scout troop was organized, and all boys in the community were encouraged to become involved.
Several boys expressed an interest in photography and organized camping, as well as just getting together weekly to play kick the can!
Hugh Southwick, the local pharmacist, with the help of two college boys and willing parents, started the group, securing Garber Rotary Club as sponsor.
This fledgling troop became active in planning and completing small goals, following the Boy Scout plan. It soon became obvious this was not a competition but a program allowing each individual to advance at his own skill and pace. What began with a photography interest led to finding local people who could tutor individuals in various vocations, which in turn led to the achievements of earning Boy Scout merit badges. Each badge did not make us proficient in that field, but it did prepare us to understand the basics.
The Boy Scout program offered opportunity to attend summer camp at Camp Saline (Camp Williams), where we became acquainted with boys from as far away as Fairview and Cherokee. Enid Scouts became best friends and encouraged us to move up in the ranks of Scouting. The camps gave boys water safety and other skilled training, while earning merit badges, (again, NOT competition, but at the individual’s own motivation and ability level).
I was fortunate to be able to attend in 1953, with my new Enid friends, National Boy Scout Jamboree on Irvine Ranch in California. It was my first train trip, through Salt Lake and the Grand Canyon to the West Coast. This experience and the encouragement of adult leaders such as Lloyd Bull and Charles Funk and the Enid Scout office, gave me the confidence to complete the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout. Enid businessmen, Lee Cromwell and John Dykes, with several Enid Eagle Scouts, conducted the Court of Honor for four of those Garber Scouts, including my brother, Don.
Perhaps time has changed the nature of the motto, “be prepared,” however the values of safety, leadership and citizenship remain the same.
A great personal reward is two of my Colorado grandsons plan to attend National Jamboree outside of Washington, D.C., this summer, and my Texas grandson recently completed his God and Country Badge requirements.
My most proud moment, as an Eagle Scout, was presenting my son, Patrick his Eagle Scout award in 1987.