You only need to look at the 138 patches on the merit badge sash of someone like Eagle Scout John Gray to get an idea of what Scouting can offer to our young people today. John, who is part of Troop 599 in the Sam Houston Area Council, is part of an elite group of Scouts who have earned all merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts of America.
Today, as the Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 106th anniversary, John reminds us of all the lessons and adventures we provide for America’s youth — experiences they can’t get anywhere else.
Scouts learn why it’s important to be of service to others, how to lead and how to be strong contributors to their communities. The Scout Oath and Scout Law guide them to grow up to be young men of good character, help them meet the challenges of an ever-changing society and serve as role models for others.
“I learned there are so many things out there I never would have thought would be interesting or fun,” John recently told the Houston Chronicle. “One thing (Scouting) taught me to do is to try new things, because if I was going to get merit badges, I would have to try them.”
It’s not easy to be a young person today, but parents know that they can turn to Scouting to provide their kids a strong foundation and the skills necessary to help them be Prepared. For Life. For instance, you have heard me mention before that we have expanded beyond our outdoor adventures to introduce young people to promising careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These adventures in learning hold great promise for our next generation of leaders to serve our nation, and serve it well.
As we observe Scouting Anniversary Day, I want to thank everyone involved with Scouting for supporting our mission and our nation’s youth. Your commitment is what makes it possible for millions of young people — like John and the rest of Troop 599 — to find their way in life with positive direction and purpose. Take a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished and the many adventures that lie ahead.
Thanks for reading.