Kent Vaughn was 12 years old when he was introduced to Scouting by his dad, Ray Vaughn. It was there he learned the simple joys of camping, goal setting, and hard work.
“I immediately became enamored with the idea of becoming an Eagle scout. Through hard work and goal-setting, I made that dream a reality.”
Earning his award propelled him to accomplish a few other amazing things. At age 18 he entered basic training for the United States Army. Three years later, he served a full-time mission in Anaheim, California. After completing his mission, he married the love of his life and together they moved to Tuscaloosa, AL to start college.
Just one week after they moved to college he received an unexpected calling that would powerfully impact him as a future father; he was called to be the Scoutmaster for his ward.
He recounts, “I remember arriving to a scene of rough and rowdy boys. None of them had taken Scouting seriously and had failed to earn any sort of rank. These same boys had run off two or three Scoutmasters in just a year. I welcomed the challenge. My vision was for each young man to earn his Eagle Scout Award.”
After he had explained his plan for the next year, he did something no previous Scoutmaster had done before. He carefully reached into his pocket and pulled out a crisp 10-dollar bill; all eyes were on him.
“How many of you know how to do push ups? Whoever can do the most push ups will earn this 10-dollar bill,” he said.
Every boy in the room immediately hit the ground to try and win the prize. One of the boys, a burly football player, won the competition by completing 40 push ups. But little did he know his Scoutmaster had other plans. My dad explained that if he could double the young man’s push ups, then no one would receive the prize. He did just that.
He told every Scout that he expected them to respect each other, respect the flag, and respect him. Those who failed to do so would be required to do push ups. He said this was going to be a wonderful experience and that their lives would change if they took Scouting seriously.
As the young men returned home to their families they expressed their excitement to be involved in Boy Scouts. Their desires began to change, and it all started because one man believed in them and wanted to help them accomplish something great.
For the next 19 months, this faithful troop went camping, earned merit badges, and learned valuable life skills. Many young men were on the path to earn their Eagle Scout Awards and serve full-time missions, and many accomplished both goals.
The trajectory had changed; Scouting had become exciting and everyone was eager to earn the prestigious award. Through this experience, my father was excited to one day help his future sons become Eagle Scouts.
He treasured his experience as a Scout and Scoutmaster. His excitement for Scouting was contagious and made me want to earn my Eagle just as he did. Though he was busy with his work, he always made time to attend my weekly events, campouts, and courts of honor.
When I asked him what his advice to fathers with son’s in Scouting was he said this:
“Don’t just send your son to camp, go with him. Would you turn over the growth, teaching, and training to someone else? Take seriously this opportunity as a father to teach your son and help him become a better man.”
My Scout leaders taught me powerful lessons and gave me the chance to participate in many life-learning activities. But, no one had a greater influence on my Scouting experience than my father. Without his help, guidance, and influence, I wouldn’t be an Eagle Scout today.
Author: Kimball Vaughn | PR Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council