What it Means NOT TO “Live” the Oath and Law

One of the amazing traditions of the Olympic Games is that athletes – even from the days of the ancient Olympics – put aside any political concerns and compete against the world’s best athletes.  At any Olympiad, there are stories of athletes who – despite the fact that their respective countries might be at war with one another or who might have opposing political views – become friends.  The TV commentators are usually quick to point this out when athletes enter the closing ceremonies – not by country but as a mixed group. The symbolism is that the athletes entered the stadium for the opening ceremonies as separate countries, but they leave as friends.

It doesn’t always work out that way.  You have probably seen this story coming from Rio:

RIO DE JANEIRO — An Egyptian athlete who refused to shake his Israeli opponent’s hand after their judo bout has been reprimanded and sent home from the Rio Olympics, officials said Monday.

The International Olympic Committee said Islam El Shehaby received a “severe reprimand” for his behavior following his first-round heavyweight bout loss to Or Sasson on Friday.

When Sasson extended his hand, El Shehaby backed away and shook his head, injecting Middle Eastern politics into the Rio Olympics. The referee called the 34-year-old El Shehaby back to the mat and obliged to him to bow; he gave a quick nod and was loudly booed as he exited.

Judo opponents typically bow or shake hands at the beginning and end of a match as a sign of respect.

El Shehaby, an ultraconservative Salafi Muslim, had come under pressure from Islamist-leaning and nationalist voices in Egypt before the Rio Games to withdraw, but competed anyway.

The IOC, which set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the incident, said the Egyptian’s conduct “was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values.”

The Egyptian Olympic Committee also “strongly condemned” El Shehaby’s actions “and has sent him home,” the IOC said.

The IOC also asked the Egyptian committee to make sure that all its athletes “receive proper education on the Olympic values before coming to the Olympic Games.”

Immediately after the bout, the Egyptian Olympic committee had called it a “personal action” by El Shehaby, adding that he had been “alerted before the match to abide by all the rules and to have sporting spirt during his match with the Israeli player.”

Sasson, who lost in the semifinals but later won a bronze medal, had said he was not surprised by El Shehaby’s actions because his coaches had warned him he might be refused a handshake. “This was his decision,” he said.

Similar incidents have happened before at judo competitions between Israelis and Arabs.

Egypt was the first country in the Arab world to sign a peace treaty and normalize relations with Israel after decades of war.

What it Means to “Live” the Oath and Law

We adults talk a lot about helping Scouts to “live” the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.   Sometimes, the Scouts “get it” and other times, it proves to be a challenge for us leaders to help the Scout make that connection.  

During the Olympic Games, there are often good and bad examples of the values we try to instill through the Scouting program.

Although this first example is not during the Olympics in Rio (I just saw it for the first time yesterday), it bears repeating – if nothing else because American tennis player Jack Sock did the right thing.   Here’s what USA Today had to say about this encounter:

In a Hopman Cup match  [in January 2016] between American tennis player Jack Sock and Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt, a ball was called out on a Hewitt serve. Hewitt went to take his second serve, when Sock stopped him and told him to challenge the call.

“That was in if you want to challenge it,” he said.

Hewitt, who plans on retiring after this year’s Australian Open, was visibly shocked by Sock’s words, but then agreed to challenge the call. The chair umpire pointed out that Sock had already conceded the point, but decided to have some fun with it. They went to the board, and there it was — in. The crowd erupted in applause, and Hewitt went on to win the match.

I want to emphasize that Hewitt won the match.  Who knows what would have happened if Sock kept his mouth shut and let the game continue without doing the right thing. The outcome might have been different.  Sock might have won the match.  We will never know what would have otherwise happened.  

Personally, I won’t remember in a week who won this match, but I will remember for a long time the sportsmanship Sock displayed.

2016 U.S. Olympic Team Boasts at Least Six Eagle Scouts

Posted on August 3, 2016 by 

At least six members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team competing in Rio de Janeiro this month are Eagle Scouts, the National Eagle Scout Association has confirmed.

Before they wore red, white and blue uniforms for Team USA, these men — two swimmers, a race walker, a marathoner, a triathlete and a beach volleyball player — wore the red, white and blue Eagle Scout badge on their Scout uniforms.

They’re living proof that a young person has time for success in Scouting and in sports.

Let’s meet these Eagle Scouts.

Casey Patterson

Casey Patterson, Beach Volleyball

Date of birth: April 20, 1980

Eagle Scout earned: Sept. 25, 1997

HometownNewbury Park, Calif.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Patterson and teammate Jake Gibb will be seeded sixth at the Olympics, giving them a real chance to compete for a medal.

When to watch: Patterson and Gibb begin play Aug. 6 with a match against Qatar. Coverage starts at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

How to watch: Beach volleyball coverage will be spread across NBC’s many networks: NBC, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network. Find a TV/livestream schedule here.

Ryan Held

Ryan Held, Swimming: 4×100 Freestyle Relay

Date of birth: June 27, 1995

Eagle Scout earned: Dec. 16, 2010

HometownSpringfield, Ill.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Held made the relay team as the third-fastest individual swimmer in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Team Trials in June. Six swimmers will travel to Rio and vie for the four spots on the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team. The four who will swim in the finals on Aug. 7 won’t be announced until that day.

“They’re going to put the four fastest guys on the relay, and whoever they believe is the four fastest guys, that is who’s going on,” Held told his local newspaper.

When to watch: Both the qualifying heat and the final medal race in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay are held Aug. 7. Coverage of the heats begins at noon Eastern. Coverage of the final begins at 9 p.m. Eastern.

How to watch: Swimming coverage will air on NBC. Find a TV/livestream schedule here.

Sean Ryan

Sean Ryan, Swimming: 10K Open Water

Date of birth: Aug. 13, 1992

Eagle Scout earned: July 19, 2010

HometownChattanooga, Tenn.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Ryan finished fourth in the 10K swim at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia. He finished 15 seconds behind the champion, meaning he’s within reach of a medal in Rio.

When to watch: The men’s 10K, at the picturesque Copacabana beach, begins at 8 a.m. Eastern Aug. 16.

How to watch: NBC hasn’t yet finalized its TV plans for this event, but the livestream will appear here.

John Nunn

John Nunn, Track and Field: 50K Race Walk

Date of birth: Feb. 3, 1978

Eagle Scout earned: Aug. 12, 1992

HometownSan Diego

Olympics experience: Third Olympics (2004, 2012)

Outlook: Finished 37th in the 50K race walk — his career best — at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. At more than 31 miles, the 50K race walk is the longest Olympic event. Unlike running, race walking requires one foot to be in contact with the ground at all times.

When to watch: The race begins at 7 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 19 and will end about 3.5 hours later.

How to watch: NBC hasn’t yet finalized its TV plans for this event, but the livestream will appear here.

Greg Billington

Greg Billington, Triathlon

Date of birth: May 30, 1989

Eagle Scout earned: June 2, 2007

HometownSpokane, Wash.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Ranked 37th on the Olympics qualification list, Billington was the was the top American finisher at the Rio de Janeiro qualifying triathlon, placing 15th.

When to watch: Coverage starts at 10 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 18.

How to watch: NBC hasn’t yet finalized its TV plans for this event, but the livestream will appear here.

Jared Ward

Jared Ward, Marathon

Date of birth: Sept. 9, 1988

Eagle Scout earned: Sept. 28, 2006

HometownKaysville, Utah

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Outlook: Qualified for the 2016 Olympics by placing third in the marathon at the U.S. Team Trials, held in February in Los Angeles. Ward finished the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 13 minutes.

When to watch: The marathon kicks off the final day of the Olympics. Coverage begins at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 21.

How to watch: NBC hasn’t yet finalized its TV plans for this event, but the livestream will appear here.

Did we miss any?

It’s possible an Eagle Scout Olympian slipped through the cracks when NESA compared its database to the list of Olympians.

Missing or mistyped information in the Eagle Scout list could mean we missed an Eagle Scout who will compete in Rio.

So if you know of any Eagle Scouts members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team that I haven’t listed here, leave a comment below.

Road Crew

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The troop took the road crew challenge and picked up over 20 trash bags of trash from our nearly 2 mile adopted road. Thanks for all the help Scouts, and parents. The night ended with a cool treat.

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A Father’s Day Salute to Scouting Dads

Posted on June 17, 2016 by 

Where would we be without our Scouting dads?

They sacrifice time, money and precious vacation days for the betterment of packs, troops, teams, crews, posts and ships across the country and around the world.

From 1992 to 2002 — my youth Scouting years — my dad, Don, introduced me to the adventure of Scouting. Treks at Philmont, winter camps in East Texas and national jamborees in Virginia turned me into a lifelong advocate for this movement.

Retention? Never a problem in the Wendell household. Once I learned my dad is an Eagle Scout, I knew I’d work to become one as well.

What I didn’t know then but know now is that Scouting gave me a foundation on which I built a life. College, a job, a family — it all can be traced to that first pack meeting with my dad.

And here’s what’s cool: I’m not alone here.

Scouting dads everywhere have experienced the power of Scouting with their sons and daughters. And in honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to share a few photos of these super Scouting dads.

Happy Father’s Day!

Don and Bryan

Don and Bryan at Gilwell Park in England

John and Jennifer

John and Jennifer

Steve, Becky and Anna

Steve, Becky and Anna

Matt and Noah

Matt and Noah

Dustin, Flo, Shane, Ian and Tatiana

Dustin, Flo, Shane, Ian and Tatiana

Rick and Ethan

Rick and Ethan

Chuck and Theo

Chuck and Theo

Chuck and Andrew

Chuck and Andrew

Jim and Jonah

Jim and Jonah

William and his son

William and his son

Mark, Kailen and Caiden

Mark, Kailen and Caiden

Leonard and Doug

Leonard and Doug

Tom and Cameron

Tom and Cameron

Dad and Jacob

Dad and Jacob

Jake and Warren

Jake and Warren

Vince and Austin

Vince and Austin

The Scoutmaster’ Turns 60: The Story Behind the Rockwell Classic

Posted on June 16, 2016 by 

On its surface, Norman Rockwell’s The Scoutmaster painting depicts a satisfied and pensive adult leader peering into a fading campfire. The sun has set. The Scouts are asleep. All is quiet.

But go a layer deeper, and there’s more to The Scoutmaster than meets the eye.

This year marks 60 years since Rockwell published this tribute to Scoutmasters everywhere. That makes it a perfect time to look at the colorful story behind the iconic painting.

How did a Jamboree photo shoot — in the daytime — turn into a nighttime scene? How did the future CEO of the Seattle Mariners find his way into Rockwell’s painting? And why does this piece continue to resonate with Scoutmasters?

The fascinating story is below.

The Scoutmaster Brown & BigelowThe Jamboree Photo Shoot

Rockwell painted from photographs. He would take a photo of a scene and return to his studio to create a painting inspired by the image.

Wanting to dedicate a painting to American Scoutmasters, Rockwell visited the 1953 National Scout Jamboree in Irvine Ranch, Calif., to find a Scoutmaster to photograph.

“Those Scoutmasters truly have something,” Rockwell said. “I have admired their skill as I have watched them work with boys. Talk about good Americans, doing things for their community. They’re doing it.”

Rockwell arranged for a troop to set up a model campsite and then hunted for a model Scoutmaster. He found Marshall Ammerman, a professional Scouter and former Scoutmaster.

Then Rockwell found four Scouts to build a campfire and pretend to be sleeping. It was the middle of the day, and it was 90 degrees in the shade. Not exactly napping weather.

Later, back in his studio, Rockwell turned day into night.

The Scoutmaster Scoutmaster's HandbookThe boy in the white shirt

You won’t recognize Howard Lincoln in The Scoutmaster, but Lincoln wanted to make sure his mother did.

Lincoln, a Distinguished Eagle Scout, former chairman of Nintendo of America, and current chairman and CEO of the Seattle Mariners, is the Scout with blonde hair and wearing white.

Once he was tucked in to bed, Lincoln made sure to position himself so Rockwell could see his face. He wanted his mother to recognize him.

In 1954, Rockwell sent to Lincoln a release form and his payment for helping make what would become a Scouting classic: $25.

Two years after that, The Scoutmaster was included in the 1956 Brown & Bigelow calendar.

The Scoutmaster Boys' Life 1956The legacy of The Scoutmaster

Rockwell was art director of Boys’ Life magazine, and his work was used on dozens of BL covers. (See the complete gallery here.)

The February 1956 issue of BL featured The Scoutmaster. The painting also served as cover art for the fifth edition of the Scoutmaster’s Handbook, in use from 1959 to 1972.

To many in Scouting, myself included, The Scoutmaster is Rockwell’s finest work for the Boy Scouts of America.

Maybe it’s a little idealistic to think that today’s Scouts would fall asleep that quickly — and with no electronic devices in sight — but the message endures. It’s not hard to see in this Scoutmaster the pride and sense of purpose felt by the millions of adults who have dedicated their lives to this movement.

After mentoring young people all day, an adult leader who pauses before bedtime can know that he or she truly made a difference. That will never change.

Boy Scout Helps Save Houston Shooting Victim’s Life

  by Hayley Cordaro

Boy Scout Nicholas L., braved gunfire to help save a man’s life after suffering gunshot wounds Sunday afternoon. (Photo credit: ABC 13 Eyewitness News)

A mass shooting erupted in a Houston, Texas neighborhood on Sunday, leaving one man killed and six others injured. Fortunately for one gunshot victim, a Boy Scout was at the scene and helped saved his life.

Unaware of the terror and gunfire that had just been unleashed moments before, 17-year-old Boy Scout Nicholas L., rushed to the aid of a man he found crying in pain and bleeding in the street of his neighborhood. It wasn’t until he asked the victim what happened that he discovered the man had been shot – and the shooter was still at large.

“I thought it was just a car accident,” Nicholas shared with The Daily Beast. “There were three other people on the scene. They were just looking down on the man while he was screaming, ‘help me, help me’ and grabbing his leg.”

Nicholas wasted no time before he sprang into action, employing the techniques he learned in Scouting to help the gunshot victim before an ambulance arrived.

“That’s when I realized there were actually two wounds, one where the bullet entered his thigh, and one where it exited,” Nicholas explained.

The Scout asked bystanders to call 9-1-1 and then requested that the victim remove his suit vest. Using the vest, the Scout quickly crafted a tourniquet to tie off the wound and prevent further blood loss. The Scout understood the importance of keeping calm under pressure so he spoke to the victim the entire time, ensuring he was at ease while tending to his wounds. Nicholas’ high school history teacher happened to be nearby and assisted the Scout.

The police arrived shortly thereafter and secured the perimeter. First responders then loaded up the victim in the ambulance and overtook treatment.

“In Boy Scouts they always talk about helping others and serving the community just because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a citizen,” he said. “I just knew that I could help him so I did.”

Read the full story on how this Scout used the skills he learned in Scouting to save a man’s life by visiting The Daily Beast and watch what the Scout had to say about his life-saving feat in the video by ABC 13 Eyewitness News.

Documentary Sheds New Light on Gerald Ford, Our Only Eagle Scout President (So Far!)

Chances are pretty good that most Scouts have only a vague knowledge of Gerald Ford, the only Eagle Scout President (so far).  Heck, I was only four years old when he became President.  But his is an interesting story.

Did you know he is the only person to date who has served as Vice President and President without being elected to either office?  When Vice President Spiro Agnew (formerly Baltimore County Executive and Governor of Maryland) resigned as Vice President in 1973 (after pleading no contest to accepting bribes as County Executive, Governor, and Vice President), Ford was chosen by President Nixon to become Vice President.  Then, when President Nixon resigned in 1974 (as a result of the Watergate scandal), Ford became President.One of his more controversial actions as President was to grant a full and unconditional pardon to President Nixon for any criminal acts associated with the Watergate scandal.  At the time, the nation was divided over whether this was the right thing to do.

As a political junkie, I think this program might be worth watching with your family.  There were a number of ethical dilemmas Ford faced, and many of the decisions he was forced to make were unprecedented.

I also highly recommend watching the movie All the President’s Men, the story of two junior reporters from the Washington Post who were assigned to a mundane story about a break in at the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington, DC.  They doggedly pursued the story – which ended up connecting the burglary all the way to President Nixon.  Again, this might spur conversation with your family about the unethical (and illegal) decisions that ultimately led to President Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

Posted on May 24, 2016 by 

Gerald Ford Boy ScoutWhen Richard Nixon resigned as president in 1974, the United States was in turmoil.

It needed a leader. It needed a man of character to right the ship. It needed an Eagle Scout.

A new documentary on the National Geographic Channel highlights Gerald R. Ford, the man who is (at least so far) the only Eagle Scout to become U.S. president.

The film, narrated by Jeff Daniels, shows how important character and trust are in the world’s most powerful position. It shows how Ford built bipartisan support, united a nation and gained respect from world leaders.

Not bad for a man who never even wanted to be president.

With the current state of social and political unrest in this country, the timing of this film’s look back at Ford’s legacy seems especially prescient.

Gerald R. Ford: A Test of Character debuts at 9 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific) Friday, May 27, on the National Geographic Channel.

Host a watch party

Consider gathering your troop, crew, team, post or ship for a viewing party Friday night.

Bring some snacks and sodas and plan to discuss the role this Eagle Scout played in American history.

Can’t make Friday night work? The film will be available on demand after its initial airing.

Gerald R. Ford (left) holds the flag as he and his fellow members of the Eagle Scout Guard of Honor prepare to raise the colors over Fort Mackinac at Mackinac Island State Park, Mich. The troop served as guides during the summer months of 1929.

Gerald R. Ford (left) holds the flag as he and his fellow members of the Eagle Scout Guard of Honor prepare to raise the colors over Fort Mackinac at Mackinac Island State Park, Mich. The troop served as guides during the summer months of 1929.

Horsemanship card Gerald Ford

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An Eagle Scout interviewed Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan, for this Facebook video on behalf of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.