I’ve been thinking about the topic of this speech since early last spring, before I had actually completed the project. It was a Sunday morning, around 9:30 and I had just gotten up to get ready for mass at 11. Waking up at 9:30 meant I was running late, I had been out late the night before with some friends and slept in later than normal. I stumbled downstairs to the kitchen to make some breakfast. I usually lean towards something simple like oatmeal or toast but today was different; there was pancake mix on the counter. For some reason I felt obligated to cook it, something I had never done before.
When you’re out camping, cooking is always a big deal. Food is being prepared for a patrol or troop so more than just your individual hunger is on the line. I’ve cooked pancakes, or attempted to, a few times during my scouting career. Something usually goes wrongâ€¦ the fire is either too hot, not hot enough or the stove itself is actually on fire.
This home experience was going to put what scouting had taught me to a test. My first thought was how do I get this thing heating up; when you’re camping, there are usually two settings for cooking heat, on or off. On stovetop at home there were eight different positions for the dial to be on, the pancake mix box did not offer any advice so I guessed number 4. I remembered to wait until the water sizzled when I sprinkled some on. I poured a decent size pancake on and got cooking.
At this point, I had figured out the meaning of scouting. The rest of the cooking experience doesn’t matter much at all. I understand it may not be apparent to most of you, so I will try to help you understand to the best of my ability.
I have been involved in scouting longer than I can remember, since I was Cub Scout in Mosier School. The Cub Scout program passed me off to boy scouts where I was interested in this thing called â€œcamping.â€ As a new scout, you are expected to listen, watch, learn, and help to the best of your ability. I tried to follow what was going on, and pretend to understand. I can still remember the first people I met in the troop. It was not Mr. Roberts, it was not the Senior Patrol leader, it was Mr. Boissionault. I remember him walking over to me in the first meeting, introducing himself, and talking to me. Probably the first friend scouting had made me.
A few years later, I was invited and attended Junior Leadership Training (JLT) where I spent a week learning leadership skills from other scouts around the council. After attending the weeklong program, I was invited to serve on staff, which I did for two years. Involvement with that program has taught me the most about leadership to date. The skills taught are specific to scouting, but I found ways that I could apply similar practices to my school activities like the Tiger Times. Ask any Tiger Times alumni and they can probably tell you how annoying â€œStart, Stop, Continueâ€ got, or how seemingly useless my presentation on Conflict Resolution was.
As I progressed through the â€œranks,â€ I became scribe, patrol leader, guide, communications liaison, and finally senior patrol leader. Senior Patrol leader proved to be my most challenging job in scouts. Not only did I have no clue what I was doing, but also everyone was looking to me under the assumption I knew what I was going on. There was a very quick learning curve, a meeting, or two with Mr. Roberts and I ran my first PLC.
Let me backtrack for a second, for those of you unfamiliar with scouting, the Senior Patrol Leader is in charge of just about everything, from planning activities and meetings to organizing patrols and troop leadership. As Senior Patrol Leader, I worked very closely with Mr. Roberts to make events run smoothly. His guidance, insight, and scoutmasters minutes are something I look forward to, not timing them on a watch like most scouts.
How does this all tie back to the simple pancake, I really cannot explain it and it might not be meant to be understood. Nevertheless, the pancake came out good, a little thick, maybe a little overdone, but it was tasty with some syrup.
Now to the part of the speech I like to call â€œThank you.â€ Let me say that I would like to thank more people than I’ll have time for so if I miss you I do not mean to, see me afterwards for a more personal thanks.
I’d like to start off by thanking my friends and family for always supporting me. Mom was always there telling me I’m going to need a winter coat in April (and one time I did) and Dad was always there to wake me up early and drive me wherever I need. My brother Kevin has always put up with my last minute needs to use the computer on a Monday or Wednesday night and my girlfriend Katie has been there to support me and help me and accept the fact I was busy every Wednesday.
I’d like to thank Dan Faille and Dan Sullivan for being role models to me, through their leadership, dedication and commitment to scouting, and activities outside scouting.
I’d like to thank the faculty and staff at South Hadley High School for teaching me more than I could ever use and giving me knowledge I continue to use in college.
I’d like to thank the Tiger Times and the South Hadley Community Access Station for giving me continual practice with leadership and problem solving with a deadline.
There are a few scouters I would like to specifically thank for their support during my active scouting career.
Mr. Boissionault, you were the first scouter I remember meeting and are always there to look out for the little guy. You have also opened you living room and given countless hours of your time to me and fellow AAD and Pope Pius 12 students.
Mr. Noel, thank you for introducing me to model airplanes; a hobby I’ve continued outside of scouting. Thank you for signing off the Outdoor code even though I messed up the middle part and thank you for reminding me to get those merit badge requirements done and handed in a timely fashion.
Mr. Regan, I remember being a young scout in the troop and having to hassle with a gear sign in/sign out system. As senior patrol leader, I recognized that system has an attempt at bringing order to the quartermaster position and troop trailer. I looked up to idea of bringing order do a disorderly environment as you did and continue to do to the trailer.
A speech would not be worth delivering if it did not include Mr. Roberts. Working towards my eagle scout rank and as I served as Senior Patrol Leader, I had the honor to work extremely close with one of the most talented people I have met. As Senior Patrol Leader during two rather difficult summer camps, Mr. Roberts was always committed to making the program valuable for every scout. He would spare no expense to make sure each scout and leader was having the best time possible. Mr. Roberts has mentored me through my eagle project, my year as Senior Patrol Leader, and my life. Thank you.