What I learned as a 16-year-old chapter chief in the Order of the Arrow has helped me throughout my Scouting career. During a lodge fellowship weekend the chapters competed in the Quest, a day of competitions in water sports, shooting sports, tug of war, Scoutcraft, and more. I committed to the members of my chapter that everyone who attended would be able to participate in at least one event.
We planned our strategy as a group — asking everyone which of the events they were most proficient. As you would expect, some of the Scouts were more athletic than others. They tended to be good at all the events. However, we found a place for everyone to compete.
Throughout the day, the chapters built up points based on how they placed in each competition. When we got to the last competition, a four-man relay race, all our chapter had to do was place first, second or third to have enough points to win the Quest.
The Scouts assigned to race, however, were not our fastest runners. I started getting requests from most of the chapter members to let the faster runners compete. So there I was – having to make a decision between winning the Quest and keeping my commitment to let every Scout compete in at least one event. No matter what my decision, some would be upset with me.
I consulted with my chapter adviser and asked him what I should do. He wisely said it was my decision to make — not his. His only comment was, “Do what you think is right based on the Scout Oath and Law.” I decided to stay with the Scouts who were originally assigned to run. To do anything else would not be trustworthy or loyal.
As it turned out, we won third place in the relay and won the Quest. The Scouts who ran put everything they had into winning. They were proud of their performance and you could see it on their faces. For a short time, they were heroes.
Looking back 50 years later, this seems like a small thing. But, for 16-year-old Wayne Brock, this was a big decision— and a lesson learned that has guided me my entire career.
There have been many times during my career that I had to make decisions that no matter what I decided, someone was going to be unhappy. I have always tried to heed those words of wisdom and base my decisions on the values of the Scout Oath and Law. I will be forever thankful to my chapter adviser for his wise advice that I have carried with me for 50 years — and will continue to take with me.
Yours in Scouting,