This article was origninally published in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
The Boy Scouts of America is celebrating their 102nd anniversary this February 8th. This is an incredible achievement and one that I am excited to honor.
Since becoming an Assemblyman, I have had the great privilege to present several awards to young men achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. This is a demanding and challenging rank to reach and requires young men to dedicate themselves to the Scouts to get this rank. About 2 million young men have reached Eagle in the Scout's 100 year history. Currently, only about 4 of every 100 boy scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. These young men represent an honor and hope for America that is rarely seen in other places in our community.
The importance of the Scouts and those who have reached Eagle Scout is found within the history of our nation. Eagle Scouts have made major achievements that have transformed our nation and world:
- Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon
- Stephen Breyer, US Supreme Court Justice
- Gerald Ford, President
- Jim Mora, NFL Football Coach
- Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart
- William Devries M.D., Transplanted the first artificial heart
- Steven Spielberg, Movie Producer
These are just a few examples of the Scouts that have taken to heart the original spirit of scouting - the idea that scouts are on the front line of any American Frontier, to tame, master, and defend our nation. They are the ones with unfailing courage to take up the leadership in our communities and nation to change us for what is good, true, and right. They have lived the Scout's Oath.
Each Boy Scout takes the Oath when they join the organization swearing, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country, and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." This is an oath that requires commitment and when followed, changes the scout, his community, and his country.
Consider some of the virtues found in the Boy Scout Oath. What is honor; to God and Country? Honoring God and Country is something that requires a dedication to what is right and acting with conviction. The Boy Scout Handbook says, "Honor will not permit of anything but the highest and the best and the manlinest."
Another virtue that is talked about at almost every scout meeting is courage. The Scouts not only talk about courage, but bravery and moral courage. Bravery to face what you fear, but also face what is wrong and change it. Say yes to the good, and no to the bad. This type of moral courage is something that is hard to find in Sacramento. What a breath of fresh air to see these young men living out what they are learning in scouting. As long as we continue to produce young men like this, there will always be hope for America.
This is why I have introduced ACR 94 to honor the Boy Scouts on their 102nd anniversary. I want to honor and encourage the virtues that make up the Boy Scouts - virtues that have made America the envy of the world with the strongest military and the most prosperous and greatest nation of all time.
We must encourage scouting and the Scouts Oath to keep this tradition alive. We need to join together as a community to support these young men and place them in positions of leadership in politics, business, education, and even the performing arts; God knows we can use some heroes today as examples or models for others to emulate.
Congratulations on another successful year!