Eagle Scout Court of Honor Speech
First of all, I would like to thank all of you for taking your time out of the day to come to my Court of Honor today. It is such an honor for me to receive my Eagle Scout Award after ten years of Scouting. I read somewhere that the aim of intelligent speech and writing is to convey a message using as few words as possible. For example, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the character Polonius says, “brevity is the soul of wit.” Unfortunately, the speech that I have prepared for today is neither brief nor witty, so please, bear with me.
When my family first moved to Bridgewater, I was looking for a new activity to take up and meet new people. My dad heard from a coworker about this organization called the Cub Scouts that his son participated in. Having grown up in the mountains of India, my dad always had a great love of the outdoors. So he signed me up. And I loved it. Over the years, Scouting has provided me with a plethora of skills and experiences.
At the scouts, I have learned many skills such as rock climbing and hiking. I even learned how to make a fire with a knife, a plank of wood, and some flint. It took a long time. However, once I finally finished, as I was sitting by the campfire we made late into the night, I thought about how amazing our hard work was and how it finally paid off. At the scouts, we learn countless outdoor skills which are useful, but what is more important is the lessons I got out of them. The task of fire building taught me the virtue of patience. On one camping trip, as a challenge we were told to bake muffins using only a handful of random materials we were provided with. We finally figured out how to make a make an oven using only a cardboard box, a couple of hangers, and a lot of aluminium foil. Then we stuck at another dilemna, how to hold the muffin mix. Once again, after brainstorming we finally came up with a solution. We cut orange peels exactly into two hemispheres and used those as the muffin cups. When will you lack an oven but instead happen to be walking about with these unconventional materials? Most likely never; however, this task taught me skills that are indispensable: ingenuity and creativity.
Most important, Scouting taught me how to be an effective team member: taking responsibility for my own actions in pursuit of a goal, contributing to the success of my patrol, and taking on leadership responsibilities. Being Senior Patrol Leader was one of the most educational experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Pleasing all the scouts by keeping things fun while at the same time making sure we got what we needed to done to keep the adult leaders happy, I felt like Queen Daenerys trying to appease both the freedmen and the masters. Sorry to anyone who didn’t get that Game of Thrones reference. But it was such a rewarding experience. After making it through those 6 stressful months, I was exhausted. John Adams once said the two happiest days of his presidency were the day he came to office, and the day he left. I know exactly what he meant. Yet somehow I had the brilliant idea to do it again. I’m not sure what was going through my mind but for some reason, after a year, I thought it would be good idea to run for SPL again. And I guess my fellow scouts felt the same way cause somehow I got elected again. Having got a lay of the land from my first term, I focused my second term on creating longer term impacts such as the creation of the “ambassador program”, “theme of the month”, and more organized Leadership Weekends.
Through Scouting I have been instilled with a love for the outdoors. It is on Scouting trips that I experienced many firsts. First backpacking, first rock climbing, first mountain biking. If it weren’t for Scouting, I likely never would have taken up Scuba Diving! Before the scouts, I had never even tried camping, but now I go almost every other month. I am such an enthusiast now that on New Year’s Day, you would have found me in a log lean-to at Stokes State Park. There is a famous quote that goes, “In the end it does not matter how many breaths you take, but how many moments take your breath away,” and I must admit, most of those moments in my life could be attributed to the BSA.
And now, perhaps most important, at the Boy Scouts, I made friends that will last a lifetime and memories that I will carry with me forever. At Boy Scouts, is where you get the most time alone with your peers. Elsewhere, there is all the distractions of technology. But out in the wilderness you don’t really have much to do but spend time with your friends. Whether it be playing an intense came of poker, group hacky sacking or even playing a game of sennis, a game invented by troop 88, you will be talking and communicating face to face with your friends opposed to on a Facebook wall like we are commonly used to.
Beyond anything, the most substantial aspect of the scouting program is the theme of community. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. A village to guide, to educate, to challenge, and to inspire the child to become a responsible component that can give back to the village by guiding, educating, challenging, and inspiring the next generation to continue the cycle.
Well, I believe that it takes a village to raise an Eagle Scout as well. And now I’d like to thank all the villagers that have guided, educated, challenged and inspired me over the past 18 years. I’d also like to apologize in advance to anyone I might accidentally leave out. First and foremost, I’d like to thank my parents. They have always been there to help me and in whatever endeavor I would take on, in scouts, in school, and anywhere I would need someone to show me the way, or, on occasion, to spot me a few dollars.
My father was always the one that made he made sure that I stayed with scouting and stayed on the Trail to Eagle. He’s been with me every step of the way making sure I’ve always stayed on track. Mom, you’ve done some things too, whether it was helping me put together my stuff on my first few campouts or deal with my dirty laundry after every one. Sorry about that. My sister is always the one who would help me with anything I needed whether it be my painting my poster outside or driving with me as I map my routes for my Eagle project. While I like to tease her that all she does is sell cookies, my most shining moment as a Scout I believe was when my sister joined the Girl Scouts.
Next, I’d like to thank my all my scoutmasters. If it were not for your guidance and commitment to the troop, I probably would not be here today, accepting this honor. You guys took time out of your lives, even taking off from work to come with us on trips across the country at times. The troop is only able to be what it is thanks to you. I’d especially like to thank Mr. Jonat and Mr. DeGraw, both of whom despite their teasing, which I’m sure you’re about to hear quite a bit of, have always pushed me to be my best whether it was while running Summer Camp or on High Adventure Trips.
Next I’d like to thank my peers; both all the other boys that are staying in scouting and will continue to make this troop grow and flourish, and those who have already graduated through Scouting and left a legacy that I tried to fill. One person I’d like to call out specifically is Tyler DeGraw. Tyler has been a role model for me both in Scouting and robotics. As I watched him lead the troop and the Electrical subteam in FRC Team 303, often I would try to mimic his leadership style and charisma he would exude. For helping me with my Eagle Project I’d like to thank, Chip Mills, the Township of Bridgewater, and all the volunteers who put in several hours into making this project a success. Once again, I apologize to anyone I may have left out. Over the past 13 years, scouting has taught me many things. It has taught me that you shouldn’t tie people to trees on camping trips. It has taught me that fire is hot, really hot. I’ve learned that if you try to tip a canoe, you’ll probably be successful. Scouting has taught me that a $200 rope, unless tied securely at both ends, is not going to keep you from falling into a stream. It has also taught me about leadership, understanding, organization, communication, and respect. But most of all, Scouting has taught me that the best spot to sleep on a ship is the bow. I have to thank Captain Ron for that one. Herbert Hoover once said, “A boy has two jobs. One is just being a boy. The other is growing up to be a man.” I believe this Boy Scout troop has helped me and the three other Eagle Scouts here today perform both of those tasks.
Eagle Rank simply represents the point by which the Scout has proven that he is not only a leader, but that he has particular ambitions and goals that he is willing to pursue, with the leadership he has developed proving to be a vital asset towards these ends. In Scouting, we often say the road ends with Eagle. However, I disagree. Attaining the Eagle rank is just a step on the long journey. Scouting has equipped me with the skills, experiences, and friendships I need, and I look forward to applying these in the challenges to come and carry forth the ideals of scouting into my everyday life. Thank you.