November 22, the day we got out of school for Thanksgiving in 1963, my teacher came into the room. She had been crying, and she was struggling to speak. She told us that President John F. Kennedy had just been shot in Dallas. It was hard to grasp that anyone would want to shoot this man. He was a war hero, the skipper of PT-109, our president, and the man who had gotten the missiles out of Cuba. His picture was on the wall of our schoolroom.
What shaped this man’s character? How did he grow into this confident figure who commanded the free world? The influences he had as a young boy helped shape him into the man he became. He was influenced by his family, his church, and his Scout leaders. Scout leaders just like you.Here is a short letter the young Jack Kennedy wrote his father in 1929, asking for a small raise in his allowance.(No editing or spell-checking has been done.) The letter shows plainly the changing priorities of this future world leader. After reading young Jack’s letter, ask yourself this one, simple question: Does Scouting matter?
A Plea for a raise
By Jack Kennedy
Dedicated to my father J.P. Kennedy
My recent allowance is 40 cents. This I used for areoplanes and other playthings of childhood but now I am a scout and I put away my childish things. Before I would spend 20 cents of my 40 cents allowance and in five minutes I would have empty pockets and nothing to gain and 20 cents to lose. When I am a scout I have to buy canteens, haversacks, blankets, searchlidgs [searchlights] poncho—things that will last for years and I can always use it while I cant use a chocalote marshmellow Sunday with vanilla ice cream and so I put in my plea for a raise of thirty cents for me to buy scout things and pay my own way more around.
John Fitzgerald Francis Kennedy
“For more than 50 years, Scouting has played an important part in the lives of the Boy Scouts of this nation. It has helped to mold character, to form friendships, to provide a worthwhile outlet for the natural energies of growing boys, and to train these boys to become good citizens of the future.
“In a very real sense, the principles learned and practiced as Boy Scouts add to the strength of America and her ideals.”
Author: Bryan Wendell, Scouting Magazine Editor and blogger on Bryan on Scouting and parts contributed by Gilwell Gazette, March 2009, Pushmataha Area Council