I received a wonderful call last night. My 16 year-old nephew, Matt Filosa, called to tell me that he successfully passed a board of review and is now an Eagle Scout. He is a member of Troop 258 in Howell, NJ. We talked for half an hour about his accomplishment and what it meant to him. Twelve hours later, a wonderful client of our firm, Joe Wulfken, called to tell me that his grandson, Alex Veriuet of Troop 205 in East Islip, passed his board of review on the very same evening, and is also an Eagle Scout!
Having coached over 100 young men to the rank of Eagle Scout, I can attest to the difficulty of this achievement. It is a task that typically takes five to seven years to complete. A Scout must demonstrate proficiency in all sorts of tasks, and more importantly, demonstrate consistent leadership. The culmination of his work is his Eagle Scout Service Project, in which a Scout typically spends 50 hours of his own time, and coordinates the efforts of his volunteers who contribute an additional 150 hours. When I am asked to speak at an Eagle Court of Honor, I usually tell the assembled family, friends and dignitaries that if there is a modern-day equivalent of a boy killing his first lion, the Eagle Scout Service Project is it. The Scout must envision a project for a non-profit organization, write a proposal that requires four signatures of approval, plan the project to the last detail, raise the money to fund the project, carry it out, and finally, provide a written report of the results, including exhibits.
Any wonder that every branch of our military will bump up the salary of an incoming Eagle Scout by one or two pay grades? Any wonder that an Eagle Scout has been aboard over 65 of America's space missions? Any wonder that Hunt Corporate Services and many other companies hire Eagle Scouts whenever they can?
And lest we forget the other half of the human race, the Girl Scout equivalent is the Gold Award. (And not to brag, but my niece, Allison, earned her Gold Award several years ago.)
We are constantly bombarded with doom and gloom. I prefer to ration the news carefully, and concentrate on the positive things that make a difference. Scouting is one of them!