The benchmarks in the Boy Scout movement worldwide for more than a century have helped shape the lives of adolescent boys for the long term.
Tonight, on the lawn of First United Methodist Church in Tupelo, the tents of the congregation’s Troop 12 will spread for its 750th consecutive monthly campout, surely a national milestone reflecting all the best attributes of Scouting, including discipline, loyalty, fitness and daily preparation.
The 62-and-a-half-year record started at the suggestion of a Scout and was carried forward for more than 40 years by the late Paul Eason, a Troop 12 scoutmaster who set the tone and created the momentum leading to those monthly experiences and an extraordinary number of Eagles, the highest Scout rank.
Troop 12 is among the oldest units in the Yocona Area Council and historically has been among the largest.
The Scouting movement, founded early in the 20th century by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a definitively upright British soldier and peer, connected the organization to his own optimistic and vigorous view of life:
“I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so you can enjoy life when you are a man.
“Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one. But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. ‘Be Prepared’ in this way, to live happy and to die happy – stick to your Scout Promise always – even after you have ceased to be a boy – and God help you to do it.”
Baden-Powell’s outlook is available for all troops and Scouts working toward it.
Congratulations to Troop 12 on a landmark achievement.