Notes From My Knapsack 7-1-10
Everyone Loves a Parade, Some More Than Others
Never having been a grand marshal for a parade before, I'm not sure what the job entails.
Many thanks to Granville Kiwanis, who not only do "just another Granville Fourth of July" every year, but in their organizing of the annual Mile Long Parade, which falls on Monday morning, July 5 this year, they decided to honor the Scouting Movement, which has a centennial in 2010.
Since they've asked anyone in the area who has earned the Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America, or the Gold Award for the Girl Scouts, to serve jointly as grand marshals, I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity . . . along with what I suspect and hope will be dozens of others.
There are lots of us around, and some of us tie knots and organize service projects in public enough that our Eagle or Gold status is well known, but there may be a few surprises on that float. I know a few mild-mannered, soft-spoken Eagles around town who are likely to evoke a reaction of "I didn't know Blank was an Eagle Scout," but you can read that either way. ("Him???")
My knowledge of the details of the Girl Scouting Gold Award is limited to my little sister earning it; to be fair to her, she has a husband and son and is a professor at [koff] Indiana University, but she's still my little sister, and I told her that this year she *really,* really needs to come visit for Fourth of July weekend.
What I do know is that the effort and achievement is comparable to the Eagle Scout rank, and I've had the chance to work with a few young Eagles recently, so I can assure you that the bar is still high and the quality of the newly minted award earners is quite impressive. Will Blount in Newark's Troop 11 honored me with an "Eagle Mentor" pin at his Court of Honor a few weeks ago, where he became the 25th young man to earn the rank since a few of us founded that unit back in 1991, and Granville's Troop 65 has some forty to their credit, with a number working on their final requirements this summer (get busy, Ben!).
Less than 4 out of every 100 who start out in Scouting go on to make Eagle, with the required and elective merit badges, the demonstrated leadership service, and the Eagle Scout service project . . . which cannot be done to serve Scouting itself, or the Scout troop, but your wider community.
What's so unusual and wonderful about the Scouting advancement program, though, is that in theory, there's no bar to every Scout earning Eagle. You don't compete against other Scouts, or on a curve, and there's no maximum quota for the award. If you meet the requirements, and fulfill the expectations, you earn it.
The chief competition for a Scout in rising through the ranks is – themselves. And that can be the hardest challenge of all.
Gold Award and Eagle Scout, female and male, old and young, riding or walking, we Grand Marshals promise to keep on setting a good example for our community and to do our jobs well, whatever that is. If it involves the shovels at the parade's end, we'll be happy to do that, too!
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; he's an Eagle Scout and proud to serve as an assistant Scoutmaster for Granville Troop 65. Send him a semaphore signal at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Knapsack @Twitter.