If you need help, ask your Patrol Leader or Scoutmaster. You can also get a lot of help from the “Scout Handbook” and the “Fieldbook.” These books can answer most of your questions. Other boys in your patrol can also help you, and don’t forget Dad and Mom. Let them help you too.
Now that you’ve completed the Tenderfoot and Second Class awards, you’ve probably also had an opportunity to attend a Court of Honor to formally receive your awards. Courts of Honor are some of the really special times in Scouting. At the Court of Honor, you’ll receive recognition for your hard work. It will be a grand time for you and you can look forward to such an occasion with each new rank advancement.
Most Court of Honor programs nowadays are staged at just the troop level. That is as it should be. However, I remember that in my day, our Courts of Honor were a combined effort involving six or eight different troops. They were “hot stuff” and we always looked forward to each one of them. Mr. Maynard Sargent conducted each Court with great pomp and ceremony. I can still hear him saying with great dignity, “I now declare this Court of Honor IN SESSION!”
The Tenderfoot, Second and First Class badges were presented first at each Court. These were followed by the merit badges, Star, Life, and finally the Eagle Scout Award. With each rank, a different “dignitary” gave a challenge to those getting the particular badge.
There were a few times when there were as many as fifteen Eagle badges awarded in one evening. Three of my friends – including Mike from our own Troop 155 – received their Eagle badges at the same time that I did. I remember Chief Miller, the Council Executive from Phoenix, made the presentations to us. Anyway, that’s enough for now of the “good old days.” Back to you …
As you complete the requirements for First Class, you’ll be able to take care of yourself out in the woods. You’ll know how to assist others who need first aid help. You’ll know about plants and animals, the stars, and how to use a map and compass, measure distances, cook over a fire or stove and also what to do if you’re lost.
You’ll know knots and lashings and how to build things with them. You will know of drugs and how they can harm your body. And you’ll know how to take care of yourself at home or on the trail. With all of these skills, you will truly be a “first class Scout”. Then you’ll have the skills to accomplish all that you want to in Scouting.
By now you know what to do at the Scoutmaster Conference and the Board of Review so these should be a breeze for you. But once again, as you go to the Scoutmaster conference, be sure that you take the same steps as before. This is not a time to get casual.
Set a date to be a Star Scout and commit yourself to doing it by that date. Tell that Board again: “I AM going to be an EAGLE SCOUT!” – and say it again to yourself. (You might need to say it four or five times until you really believe it and you’re committed to it). You CAN do it!
Remember now, you’re HALF WAY THERE! You can indeed do it. You CAN be an Eagle Scout. That Eagle peak is within your reach, so get your second wind and get ready to climb a little harder. The climb will be a bit more rugged now and it will require more personal effort and dedication. (And remember whose job it is to make you an Eagle Scout …).
Up to this point, you’ve had a lot of help from others. Many of the requirements were actually completed in patrol and troop meetings and on the hikes and camping trips. If you were active in the program you were able to reach First Class pretty easily. Things will change a bit now, however. And if you don’t recognize the change, you may be left alone at the side of the trail. You may run out of fuel, food or water and be unable to continue.
The big change as you are on your Eagle Trail beyond First Class is that you’ll now have to take more responsibility for your own advancement progress. Others may push and make noise but it really is up to you whether or not you advance from now on. There may not be anyone to lead you by the hand now so you have to DECIDE to DO IT! Set some more goals and stick to them!
Author: Kevin Hunt-Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director