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The Samurai's Heart by Walt Mussell

The Samurai's Heart

by Walt Mussell

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eagle Time


My teenager wants to be an Eagle Scout.

He came to Scouting later than most boys. He didn’t participate in Scouts when we lived in Oregon. When he first heard about Scouts here in Georgia, he was already at the age of a Webelo, the last step before shifting to Boy Scouts.  

Still, he joined and has had a lot of fun with it. He’s been on camping trips, visited many places, learned a lot, and attended summer camp. This summer will be his third year of summer camp. Something inside me, though, tells me it will be his last year.

At this time, he’s currently a Star Scout. He’s completing his six-month leadership requirement that he needs to reach the rank of Life Scout, one step below Eagle. After he completes his leadership requirement, he’ll go through a Board of Review and then hopefully earn his Life badge. This should happen sometime in July. After that, only the Eagle Scout rank remains.  

To obtain Eagle, he will need another six-month leadership position, service hours, completion of certain merit badges (almost done already). What worries him, though, is the requirement of an Eagle service project.

The service project will take a lot of time and planning, time that he will have little of pretty soon. He starts high school in the fall and is getting involved with marching band. Because he has marching band camp within a couple of weeks of returning from scout camp, the majority of my son’s free time will disappear. Also, the marching band is planning a trip to Europe his sophomore year. He needs to start raising money now.

When he’s not in the band, he will be doing baseball. He won’t be trying out for the school team, as he doesn’t want to spend the season on the bench. Instead, he’ll play rec ball where he gets three at-bats per game and gets rotated between the outfield and second base. He has two spring seasons of rec ball left before he’ll age out of what’s organized locally. He gave up fall baseball last year because he had too much going on already. Nothing, though, will eclipse his last two seasons of spring ball.

Then there’s the little matter of studying.

My son knows he needs to maintain his grades in order to enjoy extracurricular activities. He’s always been studious. On the last day of school, he came home, plopped into a chair, and began his summer reading selection.

Yet, he still wants to be an Eagle.

My wife asked me how important the Eagle was. I responded it was important enough to put on college applications and resumes. It’s a recognized example of dedication and commitment. A friend of mine warned me that making Eagle requires a huge commitment during the middle school years as high school boys get obsessed with “the fumes,” such as car fumes and perfumes, in high school. Many give up on their Eagle dreams for lack of time. My son, too, may find before he turns eighteen (the age at which he must leave Boy Scouts), that he juggling too much and has to cut things.

Hopefully, he won’t have to leave Boy Scouts before he climbs this last step.

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