OE Joe & his Boys - Legacy of Eagle Scouts
As a youth I was very much involved with the Boy Scouts. I loved going on campouts, working on all sorts of varied challenges, and hanging with the guys. I was blessed with awesome leaders and great peers who all helped motivate me to progress within Scouts. I was particularly gung ho early on and had all necessary merit badges for my Eagle when I was 13 years old. After that, I sort of coasted until just before my 16th birthday when the fumes (car fumes, perfumes) would hit. I then finally organized and finished my Eagle project – building several picnic tables for a local campground. One of my leaders owned a cabinet shop, so he was able to lend the expertise. We made the designs, built one and then used an assembly line process to finish the rest. It truly was a great time for a good cause.
During my Scouting years, I had the opportunity to do many great adventures. We camped all around Connecticut, which is where I grew up. I even had the opportunity with my troop to hike 110 miles at Philmont, do an out-island adventure at the Florida Sea Base, canoe for a week in the Adirondack mountains were we didn’t see another soul during a 5-day stretch. I loved the big and the small adventures alike and the Boy Scouts, with my faith, really helped shape who I became.
When I became a father, my wife and I decided that our boys should also have these wonderful experiences. We even made it a requirement that they get their Eagle before they could get their driver’s license. When our oldest turned 16, he had not quite yet finished his Eagle project. We sort of caved and allowed him to get his driver’s license with the commitment that he finish his project and get his Eagle. The main driving force behind this decision was so he could chauffer his younger siblings around and relieve the burden on his parents, especially with early-morning religious classes. The fact that he was a good driver also helped. That summer after he turned 16 he did finish his project. He organized the building of a nature display at the Douglas County Nature Center here in Colorado.
When our second son was turning 16 and had not yet completed his Eagle requirements we had a hard time refusing him his driver’s license since we let his older brother off the hook temporarily. Fortunately, with some good leaders helping to push him, he did finish all his merit badges and then his Eagle project when he was 17 years old. His project was inspired by a Christmas gift he made his sister a few years earlier, affectionately known as “Sarah doll”. He organized the production of about 100 pillowcase dolls for the Children’s Hospital Colorado Anschutz.
During the time my boys were involved with Boy Scouts, I volunteered as a leader in various different capacities. What better than to spend time with my sons and their friends in the great outdoors and doing character-building activities together. So today we shout out to the BSA.