Thursday, July 21, 2016

Notes From My Knapsack 8-4-16

Notes From My Knapsack 8-4-16

Jeff Gill

A Gathering of Eagles


It's simply a story that, for all of my Scouting experience, has no precedent that I know of, and I wonder if I'll ever see the like of again.


In 2005, eight Wolf Cubs in Pack 3 began a Scouting career together. Chris had done his Tiger year in Hebron, and we moved to Granville halfway through the school year, so he was in First grade with this crew, but we finished out the program with the other pack, and "transitioned" with Al Dantzer at Cub Day Camp in a walking den (as his father ran around making the usual fool of himself at the flagpole with camp staff).


They went on to Mohican and Infirmary Mound and Rising Park and more Cub Day Camp at Camp Falling Rock, then crossed over at Blue & Gold in March of 2009. They were almost all in one patrol of the troop at the outset, which over the years amalgamated into the Croppy Patrol (fishing has long been important to this group). That summer they went off to Camp Buckskin in southern West Virginia, and over the next six years, they went in various combinations to Heritage Scout Reservation in PA, Philmont Scout Ranch as a trail crew, Camp Arrowhead near Huntington, WV, Chief Logan Scout Reservation here in Simon Kenton Council, the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, and finally at Firelands Scout Reservation for most of them.


Not all exactly the same age, but in the same grade from 1st through 12th, as the junior and senior years came for this crew, the eighteenth birthday marched towards each of them. They stayed involved in the troop in various roles, and worked along on their Eagle required merit badges and helped one another on their assorted and very different Eagle Scout service projects. One at a time they completed the tasks and the process to request recognition as having earned the rank -- but there was no Court of Honor. Not for any one of them.


Because as they made this journey as a den, a patrol, a crew, they had decided years ago, on the trail at Philmont, that they would finish it together. A ninth came along to town and the troop and joined them just after, and he gets to "cross the finish line" with them.


And so it is that we saw something I know I've never seen before, and doubt I'll ever see again: a Sunday afternoon two weeks ago, an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for nine young men, all in the same grade, this remarkable Class of 2016 from GHS, this crew/patrol/voyageurs who have been through so much together (and put each other and their parents through so much!), and will experience this last achievement of their youth together. On that Sunday afternoon, a great many hopes and dreams turned into plans and purposes for an amazing future, for the nine graduated seniors of Granville Troop 65, all going to college in the next few weeks -- from New England to the Pacific Coast -- as their mothers pin on them the coveted medal recognizing their achievement as having reached the highest rank Scouting offers: Eagle Scout.


Congratulations to them all, and their families in the help and support and love they've offered to lift them up to this height. Fly on, Eagles, fly on!


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County, and he's one of the proudest fathers on the planet; tell him about amazing teamwork you've seen at, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.

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