Google the title of this post and you’ll find some pretty elaborate plans and opinions for the Eagle Scoutmaster conference. Some of them leave me thinking I should don a wizard’s robes and start boiling up some eye of newt because I am about to do something magical and mysterious.
There’s nothing magical or mysterious about it – it’s another (if more momentous) Scoutmaster conference.
The Scout I will speak to tonight has completed all his requirements and is four days away from his eighteenth birthday. He called a moment ago to tell me he’s ready. It’s early July and we have pretty informal meetings at the local park (informal meaning that we get together and play ultimate Frisbee for an hour and a half).
He and I will sit at a picnic table, neither of us will be in uniform and I’ll sign things while we chat. No magic robes, or top hats or brass bands – just talking to one of my Scouts. Other Scoutmasters do this more formally and that’s fine by me. I have never really conducted lengthy, outlined Scoutmaster conferences. I suppose the longest ones I have are with Scouts reaching Life rank because we talk about the way to Eagle.
There’s not a whole lot I don’t already know about this young man or what he is up to for the past seven years since he joined our Troop. He’s been a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster for a year or so; a very capable, helpful one so there’s not a lot of mystery there – we work together every week. He’ll be in charge of my crew when we go canoeing in Canada next month, he was in my crew the last time we went to Canada, and he led our trip to Switzerland last summer.
Naturally I am pleased that he has finished up his stuff for Eagle, but I am far more proud of the man he has become. A caring, compassionate and decent person; someone who the world can count on. I will make sure he knows that and understands the respect I have for him. Our conference will probably be brief – maybe ten minutes or so – but it’s only a small part of a conversation that’s been going on for seven years and will keep going on.