Scout Stories Archives - I Want My Eagle

My Memories of Lord Baden-Powell

My Memories of Lord Baden-Powell

My name is Rowland and I’m a friend of Jason’s.  I really like what Jason is doing with his blog on and the thoughts on scouting he shares each week.  I asked him if I could contribute a post on his blog and he graciously allowed me to share my memories of Lord Baden-Powell.

No, I’m not 100 years old, and I don’t have memories based on a personal acquaintance with the father of scouting.  Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend Wood Badge training for adult scout leaders and my memories are based on an evening fireside where an actor portraying Lord Baden-Powell talked about the life of this great leader and the principles on which he built the scouting movement.

My Memories of Lord Baden-Powell

What impressed me the most is that the scouting program has strong roots in religious principles.  No matter what religion you are, you will find that the tenets of scouting reflect the tenets of many different religions the world over.  Consider his words, as referenced on the Boy Scouts of America web page:

“The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and recognizing that God is the one Father of us all, that we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class. We realize that in addition to the interests of our particular country, there is a higher mission before us, namely the promotion of the Kingdom of God; That is, the rule of Peace and Goodwill on earth. In the Scouts each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged and through the spread of our brotherhood in all countries, we have the opportunity in developing the spirit of mutual good will and understanding.

“There is no religious “side” of the movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.

“Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don’t let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, back woodsmanship, camping, hiking, Good Turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is CHARACTER with a purpose.

“Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation.”

What better summary than this of the goal of the scouting program in the lives of our young men!  I’m grateful for the influence religious principles have on the scouting program and instilling character into scouts.

Anonymous Donor to Scouts

Anonymous Donor to Scouts

I saw this blog post by the Utah National Parks Council a few days ago and wanted to share it with you.  It is a quick short scouting story that inspires me and hopefully inspires you too.  Often times I am hard on myself for not doing more and when I read this, I had two thoughts.  First, I shouldn’t feel bad for not spending more time helping scouts.  Second, this kid gave all he could to help scouts and the amount doesn’t matter.  Remember, if you are giving what you can, it is enough.

Read the article by clicking the link below:

How To Run an AWESOME Flag Ceremony

How To Run an AWESOME Flag Ceremony

Participating in a flag ceremony is one of the first requirements scouts have to do when earning their ranks.  I think this is one of the most important requirements.  Scouts should learn respect for their country and flag at an early age.  I love it when I attend any event where they hold a flag ceremony!  I lived outside the United States for 2 years in Chile when I was younger and gained a profound respect for our country.  Our flag represents our country, and I get emotional just thinking about it seeing our country’s flag.

I remember on the plane ride home from Chile, the flight crew announced over the intercom that we were starting our decent into Miami Florida and welcoming us to the United States of America.  I started crying right there in the plane just thinking about how grateful I was to be back in MY country!

To this day, every time I attend a scouting event that has a flag ceremony, I have the same feelings.  When a scout troop performs the flag ceremony with distinction, and you know that they have worked hard and practiced it, it enhances the audience’s experience and emotions for the country and flag.  We have all been to a scouting event where it is very obvious that it was thrown together at the last second and mistakes are made.  This is better than not having one, but proper respect for the flag demands that we do better.

At my oldest son’s Eagle Court of Honor, we asked the 11 year-old scouts to do the ceremony.  We emphasized that we wanted it done very well and practiced.  They did AWESOME!  They put in the time and practice and we had lots of comments from attendees that it was very well done.  The scout who was calling, did not read from a paper.  He had memorized it.  The boys marched in unison with their feet synchronized and they put the flag on the correct side of the stage.  Everything was done as well as it could be.

I hope that anyone reading this blog – scout, parent, or leader, will be inspired to do the same and create an AWESOME experience for their audience on all flag ceremonies they are involved in.

Below is the text of the flag ceremony I have used with our scouts, for your reference:


Colorguard, Attention!
Will the audience please rise?
Colorguard advance!
Audience salute!
(Wait for colorguard to reach the front American Flag on left of audience view)
Please repeat the Pledge of Allegiance with me
(Repeat Pledge)
Colorguard, post the colors!
Colorguard, dismissed
The audience may be seated


Colorguard advance
Will the audience please rise?
Colorguard, retrieve the colors (not retire)
Audience salute!
(Wait until flags leave the area)
The audience may be seated

Getting The Whole Family Involved In Scouting

Getting The Whole Family Involved In Scouting

Our family is pretty involved in scouting.  I wanted to share a fun and awesome experience that happened to our family a couple of years ago.

To set the stage, let me tell you a little bit about my family.  My oldest son, JB, is serving a mission for the LDS Church right now in North Carolina.  Before he left to serve his mission, he was an Eagle Scout at the age of 13 because he wanted to “do it faster than dad.” He also served on National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) staff in our council for 4 straight years after being a participant.  His last year on staff, he was one of the Key 3 running the course.

I also have twin daughters, Emily and Sabrina, who are 18 now.  A couple of years ago, they attended a co-ed NYLT because they were always telling me that they were jealous of all the boys in the family and wished they could earn merit badges and be an Eagle Scout.  So when the opportunity came for a co-ed NYLT course they wanted to go!

My youngest son, Ty, is 15 and also earned his Eagle Scout at 13 because he wanted to “do it faster than my brother.”  He beat him by a few months.  He also has been the Order of the Arrow Chapter Chief and has served on NYLT staff for 3 years and is one of the Key 3 this year for our course.

My wife has also been a registered scout leader for many years serving in Cub Scouts as Den Leader and Cub Committee Chair, Unit Advancement Chairman, Merit Badge Counselor, Eagle Coach, and more over the years.

As you can see we are very involved in the scouting program as a family.  My daughter, Emily, took it to a new level during her 9th and 10th grade years.  While I was serving as the District Eagle Project Approval Chairman, she paid attention and heard me talking to many scouts and parents while coaching them through the Eagle Project process.  She learned the process so well that she knew how to tell whether an Eagle Project was approvable or if more needed to be added to make it a valid project.

She unintentionally started coaching all of her scout friends at school.  Boys starting coming to her with their Eagle Project ideas asking her if they would be a good Eagle Project or not.  She started bringing up Eagle Projects in conversations with boys at school and encouraging them to work on it, telling them that it wasn’t that hard to do.  She also told some boys that her dad wouldn’t let her go on a date with them unless they were and Eagle Scout (disclaimer: I didn’t say that exactly, but said that Eagle Scouts are better dates and that I would ask them questions when they came to pick her up).

Well, word got out about what she was doing to other scout leaders in the district and when we went to the District Scout Awards Banquet, they called us up and gave us the Scouting Family of the Year award and told the story about Emily and how she is Eagle Coaching all the boys at school.

It’s hard to know how many young men went on to earn their Eagle Rank because of Emily’s encouragement. (She knows of at least five, possibly ten!) We take pride in that award and love that we were recognized as a scouting family!

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Jason Petty | Scout Stories

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

We are taking a few days off for the holidays and wanted to thank all of our readers and wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Preparing For a Winter Camp – Wool Socks


When trying to teach scouts about winter camping and what they need to do to prepare for one, it has always been a challenge.  There are always some scouts that don’t bring the right gear to stay warm.  Also, once they get up there, they get wet and find out the hard way that getting wet is not the right thing to do either.  That is the best way to have scouts hate winter camping.

We have a boy in our scout troop that hated camping when he moved into our unit and we found out that the ONLY camp he had been on was a winter camp and was not prepared.  It was miserable for him, so he thought all scout camps were that way.  If they are miserable, they will not like it.  I have to admit, when I was the Assistant Scoutmaster until a couple of years ago, I wasn’t extremely excited to go winter camping either.  Winter camping is one of the funnest and most rewarding types of camps to me now.  If you are prepared, it is very cozy and you learn a great life skill that you may have to use one day if you ever face a disaster.

One of the very effective activities that we have done with our scouts is the wool sock versus the normal sock test.  We like to do this outside if there is snow but if there isn’t any, we use ice water buckets as seen in the picture above.  Scouts remember activities that are fun and teach them something.  If you just tell them to wear wool socks, they will not think it is important and will forget to bring them.  If you have them experience the difference in a safe environment before they go camping, they will remember.

In this activity, we have them put one wool sock on one foot and then a normal sock on the other.  We then have them walk around outside in the snow for a minute.  If we don’t have snow, we bring a tarp and buckets filled with ice and water and have them put their feet in and hold them there for a minute.  After they do this, we have them tell us which sock keeps their feet warmer and then explain why. They learn the lesson well.

Believe me, they do not forget to bring wool socks to winter camp after this activity.  The boys look forward to this activity every year.  The older scouts ask us, “when are we doing the wool sock winter test activity again?” so  they can watch the newer scouts take the challenge.  The older scouts also can also help explain to them why to wear wool socks which cements the concepts in even better.

NYLT – How Scout Camps Change Boys’ Lives


It’s been my privilege to participate as an adult staff member of a Boy Scouts of America National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) camp.  Here, in the Mt. Nebo District, we call it Timberline.  I have witnessed how this camp changes boys’ lives in one short week.  Here’s an experience of which I was part to illustrate this point.

Let me tell you about one of our participants back in 2014.  His name was Josh.  Josh arrived to camp on Monday morning and you could tell he did not want to be there.  He was very quiet and nervous.  This is normal for a lot of boys coming to this camp so we didn’t think much of it at the time.  The week at Timberline is designed to get boys out of their comfort zones and put them in a situation where they make new friends and learn to work in a team.  As the week and activities went on, I noticed that he was hanging behind his patrol and avoiding participating in the discussions or team building games.


Let me say that one of the AWESOME things about Timberline is that it is completely run by youth staff members who have been trained by the adult staff for more than six months, all in preparation for this one week of camp.  Each patrol has two Troop Guides (youth staff) who help and guide each patrol.  The Troop Guides tried everything they could to get Josh to participate, but he resisted every attempt.  Things continued on this way for three days.  Josh began acting like a bully, causing fights in his patrol and with other patrols.  But, we were committed to each member at camp.  The boys didn’t give up on Josh.  They continued to try and to regroup and try again.  Josh seemed unaffected by their efforts. Then, on Thursday all of it changed….

The main activity on Thursday is called The Outpost.  Each patrol goes out to camp alone as a patrol. They conduct a spiritual devotional that night at camp.  This activity usually marks a turning point for most patrols. I participated in the devotional with Josh’s patrol that night.  We all sat in a circle around their camp and the patrol leader asked everyone to say what Timberline (NYLT) meant to them for the devotional.

When it was Josh’s turn, there was a long moment of silence.  We didn’t know what would happen.  The young patrol leader, not knowing what to do, just waited.  Sometimes silence is the best thing and after a few moments, Josh started.  He shared with the patrol his family struggles, how he was living with his grandma and how his parents had drug problems and how he never really had any friends.  He shared how he had been loving Timberline and how his patrol were all his friends.  Wow!  What a change!  No one in the patrol had any idea, but they were so glad they continued to follow the principles of inclusion and patience.  It was an awesome bonding moment for everyone.

After that experience, Josh was a different boy.  For the rest of the week, he was happy and laughing, and put his arm around the other boys and talked with them.  He was fully participating!

On the final day of Timberline, when the parents came to pick them up, we had one final gathering and flag ceremony.  The last thing we do is go around, the adult and youth staff together, to shake each participant’s hand.  As we came around to Josh’s patrol, they were all crying and sad that the week was over.  They didn’t want to go home!  They didn’t want it to end.  We staff members could not hold back our tears either.

Those are the kind of experiences that make Scouting awesome!  I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything.

How a hike to Wheeler Peak (Website Banner Picture) changed my and our son’s life forever.

There is a reason we picked the banner picture (above) to grace the top of the homepage. It is special to us. In July 2009, my son, JB (seated to my left), was 13 years old. Our unit scout leaders, along with the troop, decided to hold a week-long camp out instead of going to the typical BSA merit badge camp. Among other activities, we planned to summit Wheeler Peak in Nevada, a challenging hike to a peak that rises to 13,063 feet in elevation.

My son was a little nervous, and so he asked if I would volunteer to go as a parent leader with him. I came along with another adult, Joe Bowen (pictured bottom right in the white shirt), who also volunteered to come for extra adult supervision. Little did we know that this week was going to bring the three of us, and the whole troop, closer together, forming friendships that will last a lifetime.

Before I tell the story of our hike to the top of Wheeler Peak, I want to say that this story is a prime example of why I think scouts and leaders should plan hard things that stretch and challenge.  These experiences are what they remember when they grow up.  Scouting offers the infrastructure and design to lead boys through challenges that teach priceless values. These are the things that build character and remain long after scouting has faded. Over the years, I have conducted many Eagle Boards of Review and, without exception, the answer to a question I always ask, “What was your favorite thing you did during your scouting career?”, is always the hardest thing the scout achieved, like a 50-mile hike or a feat similar to this story.

This opportunity took deliberate planning.  We camped at 10,000 feet for a couple of days to acclimate our bodies to the altitude.  On the morning of our planned hike to the peak, we started before sunrise.  We had just over 4 miles to hike and about 3,063 feet elevation to climb.  We were prepared with enough water and snacks to make it.

Along the hike, JB soon became so scared and nervous that he started to drink his water too quickly.  He was out of water before we reached the half-way mark.  He was also walking slowly in the quiet hopes that the other boys would leave him behind and make it to the top; he would just turn around and go down with them.  He didn’t care about the summit.  It was too hard; too far out of his comfort zone; beyond anything he had attempted before.  I shared my water with him to keep him going and to help him avoid altitude sickness.

About two-thirds of the way up, he finally broke down and started crying.  A few of us stopped and tried to find out what scared him. We cautiously encouraged him and tried to discern what he wanted to do.  He was ready to quit a long time ago, and the further we got and the more cliff drop offs he saw, the more scared he got.

Joe Bowen was there and asked JB if he wanted to have a prayer with him.  JB finally calmed down enough to say yes and asked Joe to offer the prayer.  In the prayer, Joe asked God to bless him with the strength to conquer his fears and to make it up the mountain with the troop.

After the prayer, JB appeared much calmer, but remained undecided about reaching the summit.  He decided to continue.  As we got higher, within 500 feet in elevation from the top (which is still quite a way), he started doubting again.  We stopped and had a rest to allow him time to think about it.

Then, something happened that I will never forget.  A fellow scout from our troop came down the trail to meet us (as they were all up ahead).  He had a message for JB.  The advanced group had not yet reached the peak and they (on their own, a group of 12-13 year-old scouts), had decided together that they wanted JB to be the first one to reach the summit and that they wouldn’t go on without him.

When he heard what this scout told him, it was like a new life instantly overtook his body.  He jumped up and started hiking up the hill as fast as he could go.  I could barely keep up with him.  As he reached the group of boys, they let him pass, and then all got in line behind him as he lead them up the remaining trail to the peak.

As we reached the summit, there wasn’t a dry eye in the group.  He did it!  We did it! He overcame his fears with help from his friends and the troop made it together!  His confidence soared and he became a new person from that point on in his life.  Sometimes, I think we discount the influence scouts can have on one another and doubt the heights they can reach when given the opportunity.  Sometimes we don’t expect enough from our boys in this way.

It was just a little under a year’s time following that camp out, when JB completed all of his merit badges, Eagle Project and other requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout. That hike was a pivotal point in his scouting success; he never looked back.  When we held his Eagle Court of Honor, I asked JB who he wanted to award his Eagle Mentor pin to. He replied that he wanted to give one to every single person who went on that hike.  There were 12 of them.  Those pins aren’t cheap!  It was worth it and an appropriate honor for a trust and victory earned together.

One of those pins went to Joe Bowen.  He grew up in the military his whole life and was a decorated Army veteran.  He wore that Eagle Mentor Pin on his suit coat every Sunday for years until the day he died of cancer.  His passing came suddenly while my son was out serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Joe told me during his final days that that Eagle Mentor Pin meant more to him than any honor he had received during his distinguished military career.  He treasured that pin and the experience behind it.

Joe’s wife has since sent that pin to my son while still serving his mission.

The experience we had on that mountain changed the lives of almost everyone there.  I have heard my son, JB, say that the hike to Wheeler Peak changed the way he thought of “hard” things and that if he could make it to the top of that mountain, then he could do anything.  Experiences like this are what scouting can provide for boys and men. It makes them better boys and better men.