Photo credti: Pablo by Buffer
It is a strong conviction I hold and there are so many outlets and opportunities to do something for our fellow people. About two weeks ago son Max held a speech at a Scouting Pacesetter event that I have copied and pasted below. He did get a speech suggestion for the event, but after reading it he asserted “ that is not me Dad” and he wrote his own version. His aunt requested that I send her the speech and along the way I re-read it again. Please take some time to read it too and scan for the sections that highlight helping community and just plain our fellow people. It also advocates for trying to learn about helping lead other people. Here is my call to action for you: If a 13 (now 14 year old) young man can find reason and outlets for providing help and leadership don’t you think we can all do that?
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Max Weiser, and I am almost 14 years old and in 8th grade at the Avon Grove Charter School. It’s really exciting for me to be here this evening to tell you about one of my favorite things: Boy Scouts.
I am currently a Life Scout in Coatesville. I joined Scouts 8 years ago as a Tiger Cub with a Pack in Exton. As a Cub Scout, I was able to go camping for the first time and enjoy a lot of fun activities with my Dad by my side. I earned my arrow of light award and moved up to Boy Scouts. My mother and father both encouraged me to join Scouting but I was the one who brought home the flyer and asked to go to recruitment night, since it sounded incredibly fun. I can say that I have gone on many fun adventures, made a lot of new friends, and so much more, through my experiences with Boy Scouts.
If anyone were to ask me about joining Scouts, I would encourage all boys to become Scouts. If you have a son or a grandson who is not in Scouting, you should talk to him about joining. He will learn things that will help him his whole life. He will make some great friends and he will go places and do things that other boys never experience, as well as develop his leadership skills and learn the importance of helping others.
One of the biggest highlights of my Scouting career has been camping. As a Cub, I attended Camp Ware for a week with my Dad each summer. I enjoyed the games, crafts, swimming and sleeping outside the most. Once I transitioned to Boy Scouts I was able to attend Camp Horseshoe, all by myself. I will be honest, this first trip away from my family was rough at first. The first night I wrote a tear filled letter home and asked to be picked up. I am glad my parents did not get that letter until after I was home. My fellow Scouts and all the Leaders encouraged me and helped me to have fun that week. We went swimming, played camp wide games, shot rifles, climbed walls and learned many skills that allowed me to work on advancement and merit badges. By the end of the week, I did not want to LEAVE! I was tired, covered in heat rash (it was 100 degrees that week) and very dirty. But I made it! And that gave me the confidence to keep moving forward in my Scouting career. I am scheduled to go on a High Adventure Sailing Trip at Sea Base in Florida this summer with a different troop than mine. I am also signed up to go to National Jamboree in West Virginia with a group made up of Scouts from all around our council to meet up with Scouts from all over the nation. In 2018 I want to attend a National Convention of the Order of the Arrow. And in 2019 I want to join a council contingent for a World Jamboree to be held in West Virginia. I have learned to have confidence in myself and that my fellow Scouts will help me along the way if I stumble, so these new experiences will be more enjoyable.
I was asked to think about my favorite part of Scouting is, and that was tough. We do so many different things and I like them all. The best part for me is meeting new Scouts from around the nation and, soon, the world. One area I particularly like to focus on is the Order of the Arrow. Order of the Arrow is a Boy Scout Honor Society which focuses on Cheerful Service to Scouts and the Community. Our local lodge helps to take care of Camps ware and Horseshoe. Currently, I am an Ordeal member and will earn brotherhood in June or September. There, I get to meet Scouts who are as highly devoted as I am, from around the area. It’s a great way for me to be around my scout friends and provide service to my community at the same time. I am currently working on setting up a Blood Drive for the Order of the Arrow Day of Service committee that I chair. Scouting gives me the opportunity to try many different things, such as finding out what my specific interests are and to discover my strengths. Through Scouting’s merit badge program, I may even figure what I want to do with the rest of my life. So far I’ve earned 26 merit badges. Some of which have been very difficult, but Scouting has taught me that if I work hard and really dedicate myself I can do anything.
The hardest badge I have earned, so far, is Life Saving. Be Prepared is the scout motto, and one purpose of the Lifesaving merit badge is to prepare scouts to assist those involved in water accidents. This badge taught me basic rescue techniques, the skills to perform them, and the judgment to know when and how to act during a water accident. It was a physically demanding badge. Picture me trying to drag a fellow Scout, twice my size, who is pretending to be unconscious, out of the water to safety. Luckily, I survived, and so did he!
One of the funnier Scouting experiences I have had so far was when my troop camped at Camp Karoondinha for the weekend. One evening, my fellow scouts and I were sitting around the campfire. We kept hearing weird sounds coming from the woods. We were almost convinced it was Bigfoot! In reality, it was group of other scouts hitting the trees with sticks. Once we all realized we were scared the for no reason, we had a good laugh. It wouldn’t be a Scouting trip without some good natured laughs. Sometimes we provide the laughs and sometimes Mother Nature does. For example, the Valley Forge Encampment this past February, which really tested our ability to laugh in 20 below wind chills. We took classes ahead of time, came prepared, and conquered the elements until the wind blew our tents over and the Township made us go home. But now we all have a great story to tell and a greater respect for our Revolutionary troops!
It’s not hard to see that Scouting means a lot to me, but it’s not the only thing I do. Like most Scouts, I’m involved in other activities. I enjoy playing flag football, doing abstract art as a hobby, being active in art club, and participating in Odyssey of the Mind competitions. Who knows, maybe in a few years, if my love for art flourishes, I may end up being the next famous artist to come from Chester County. When you see my art in the Met, you can tell all your friends you knew Max Weiser when he was a Life Scout!
Of course Scouting has also taught me to keep my options open and to be prepared for whatever comes my way in life. Every meeting and every day throws something different at me
If I could give you a practical example of how Boy Scouting is a great place to grow up, it would be this: I am a patrol leader for my Troop back in Coatesville. But what really makes me love scouting is being a den chief. This means I attend a Cub Scout meeting every week in addition to my own Troop meeting. I enjoy watching the young boys grow from Tiger Scouts in 1st grade to Webelos 2 in 5th grade. I also help them transition from Cubs to Boy Scouts. No matter how loud they are, (and believe me they are LOUD) they still respect me as a Leader and even requested that I return this year even though Den chief is usually a one year term. They always make every experience different for me. Leading your peers is important, but leading the youth to enjoy Scouting is even more gratifying.
Even though I have already accomplished a lot through Scouts, there are lots of things I still want to accomplish; the first is finishing the requirements for my Eagle rank. I set a goal for myself two years ago that I would make Eagle Scout by the time I was 15. I am finishing the last Merit Badge and I am well on my way with my project. I turn 14 next week and I hope to achieve Eagle rank by this Fall, ahead of schedule, mind you.
Thank you for allowing me to tell you my Scouting Story and let me end by thanking all of you for doing your part to help kids like me discover the world through Scouting.
On behalf of the 5,700 Scouts of the Chester County Council, I thank you for your support. And I salute you.”