Doug Creamer: Eagle Scout
I went to my mailbox a few weeks ago to collect the routine deposits. There were bills and some junk mail. One letter that looked like junk mail required a closer inspection. The letter had a return address label with the Eagle Scout emblem on it. I looked at the name and saw that it was a former student’s last name. I stopped in my tracks and opened the letter right there.
The letter was from a former student’s parents. They were inviting me to their son’s Eagle Court of Honor. It was an honor to be invited and I immediately made plans to attend. I recently learned that only four percent of boys who join scouting will become Eagle scouts.
A couple of days before the ceremony, I began digging around to find my gear from scouting days. I still have my uniform with the Eagle patch on my shirt. I was a member of Troop 66 in Virginia Beach, which was a large and active troop.
I found my sash with the merit badges attached. Then there was my skill awards belt. There were several neckerchiefs and a couple of hats. Then there were a pile of patches from various places. I always got a patch for summer camp, a week hiking camp called the High Knoll Trail, and various jamboree patches.
When I was digging through all this stuff the memories of my time in the Boy Scouts flooded my mind. I think the camping trips and the summer camps were the best times of my young life. I remember many nights around a campfire, telling stories and participating in skits.
I remember the many leaders who gave of their time and energy to help me grow up and become a responsible citizen. They invested themselves and they left their imprints on my life. I am the man I am today because of the men who believed in me and invested in me as a Boy Scout. I earned my Eagle Scout and I am thankful to all the people who encouraged me along the way.
I went to Grace Lutheran Church in Thomasville on Sunday to see Ethan Moore (my former student) and JD Lawson receive their Eagle Scout awards. I am so proud of these two young men and their great accomplishments. It was great to see them surrounded by their scouting family and the church family as they received this high honor.
I talked with Ethan before and after the ceremony. We looked at each other’s sashes which had our merit badges on them. We swapped a few summer camp stories. He went to the Boy Scout camp in Virginia right across the lake from the one I went to when I was in scouting. Then he told me about his Eagle project: building an outdoor chapel.
I congratulated his parents and headed out. Before leaving, I walked down to the outdoor chapel that Ethan had made and sat quietly for a few moments, awash in memories again of my own scouting days. I led Sunday morning devotions on numerous scouting trips. Wonderful memories flood my mind even now as I write this column.
One of the biggest lessons that scouting teaches a person is that you can’t do it alone. Teamwork, reliability, and dependability are strong values taught to every scout. These same qualities are critical to our spiritual walks. No one was meant to walk out their faith alone. We need leaders and mentors who will advise and encourage us as we walk along the path of life. Boy Scouts break troops into patrols: small groups. Churches offer the same thing through Sunday school classes and home groups where you can participate, contribute, and connect.
Scouting teaches boys to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, clean, and reverent. Doesn’t that sound like a good church member? These character qualities help to prepare us to welcome the lost or those who are searching and help them connect to a life-changing God. It’s not just the pastors; it’s the greeters, ushers, choir members, Sunday school teachers, elders, and every member who can make a difference.
In the Great Commission Jesus calls each of us to take the message of His love to the world. I want to encourage you to be prepared to do your part in your church, your community, your place of work, your school, and in your sphere of influence. We need each other in the church to complete our spiritual journey. The world needs us as the church to be the light that will lead them to a personal relationship with our loving Heavenly Father.
Contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org