You probably can’t appreciate what your Scouting legacy will be a few years from now.
Today you have your hands and your head full of getting things done; looking into the future may not be high priority.
No matter how hopeful or difficult things may seem at the moment, no matter how well or poorly you imagine you are doing, how organized or chaotic things may seem, you are doing important work in the lives of your Scouts.
Whether you know it or not you are building a Scouting legacy.
Like many Scouters I am fortunate to be able to look back a few decades. Step back and look at this picture, let me share this perspective with you.
Here we are on pulpit rock just off the Appalachian trail on a weekend backpacking trip in 1995.
It doesn’t seem possible this was taken twenty one years ago. I’ve hiked to pulpit rock many times since with dozens of other Scouts. (That’s me, down towards the bottom right.)
Like all Scouters the Scouters in this picture agonized over these Scouts, were we getting anywhere? Like all parents the parents of these boys agonized, at times, over their future. This is an unretouched picture, nobody has been airbrushed out, everyone had their rough times.
Of the 18 boys in this picture nine of them will become Eagle Scouts. One of the adults, already an Eagle, returned from college to join us on the trip. One will be a teacher, two become lawyers, one a Franciscan brother, one a college administrator, one a chef, one a Chief or our fire department.
Although my memories of some of these Scouts is a little foggy I keep up with most of them to this day.
Together we’ve shared both good times and sad moments since then.
Half a dozen invited me to their weddings (I was even in one). I have watched their children grow up. One has handed me two grandchildren. One will be bringing his daughter along on our canoe trip this summer. One’s son is a new Scout in our troop this spring.
The boys in this picture are just a few of the men my wife refers to as “our boys”. We are incredibly fortunate to be a continuing part their lives. Some we see frequently, some less so, yet the easygoing bond of fellowship remains strong. They are good people who carry forward the good things that they gained as Scouts.
I know a Scouter’s life isn’t all sunshine and gumdrops; there’s a lot of hard work, happiness, discouragement, good times and bad. Hopefully this perspective makes what we are worried about today a little less worrisome.
A Scouter’s legacy is greater than the number of patches and certificates we frame. Our joy, our reward, is watching the lives of our Scouts unfold.