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Steve Lunetta: Wings like eagles

Right About Now

Posted: March 16, 2009 12:51 a.m.
Updated: March 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A remarkable thing happened at Christ Lutheran Church on Tournament Road a couple weeks ago. Troop 609 held a National Eagle Court-of-Honor. What made it so remarkable was that not just one Eagle was christened but four.

John Andrew Morris, Gabriel Elias Sayegh Jr., Michael Christopher Morris and Neil E. Subbarao were honored as our valley's latest scouts to attain the rank of Eagle, the highest rank in Scouting.

Were you aware that only two percent of scouts who start the program ever reach the rank of Eagle? And, since only one in four boys in the U.S. will become Scouts, that means only 0.5 percent of boys ever become Eagles.

That's more honest Democrats than you can find in Washington. Or legislators (from either side of the aisle) in Sacramento that actually believe that higher taxes are harmful to our state.

Of 100 Boy Scouts, eight will enter a career based on a merit badge. Twelve will receive their first-time religious contact. Five will earn their Religious Emblem and two will enter the clergy.

One will use Scouting skills to save the life of another. One will use Scouting skills to save his own life.

Its also interesting to note that "of the leaders of this nation in business, religion and politics, three of four were Scouts" ("One Hundred Scouts," BSA).

To become an Eagle Scout, a young man must earn 21 merit badges of which 12 are required. The required badges include First Aid, Citizenship in the Nation and Personal Management. Clearly, the folks that got us into the subprime mess were never Scouts.

Another requirement is that the Scout must serve six months in a leadership position within the troop. This teaches a young man how to lead and earn the respect of others. Leadership is not just a title - it is a skill that a person develops through trial-and-error, hard work, selflessness and tenacity.

The final requirement is a service project. The Scout must find a worthy project that will benefit his community, organize his troop, obtain supplies and resources, obtain permissions then execute the project. Most Eagle Scouts find this the most difficult yet rewarding part of process.

Imagine - what if more than just 0.5 percent of all of our young men did a service project once in their lives to serve their community?

The obtaining of the rank of Eagle is rather like a "magic key" that opens many doors. Employers often hire Eagle Scouts because it is a way of assuring that their new employee is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly ... (you get the idea).

The Eagle rank is also a mark that assures others that this is a young man capable of accomplishing what he sets out to do and finds no obstacle insurmountable. The character traits required in gaining this lofty rank will serve the Scout in all walks of life - personal, professional and spiritual.

I would be remiss in not mentioning that the Eagle Scout has also gained skills most kids today don't learn. For example, lighting a fire in less than 12 seconds without a match, pitching a tent, cooking a meal at high elevation, tying knots, and making a thermonuclear device out of a wet sponge.

The only thing Scouts don't have is a great cookie fund-raiser like the Girl Scouts have. Let's face it, nothing beats those thin mints. (Aside: it is now Girl Scout Cookie season! Please buy as many boxes as your budget and waistline can stand!)

I was given the opportunity to speak for one of the Scouts during the ceremony. As I spoke, I reflected on how I had seen this one particular Scout grow up and that he was no longer a little boy but an excellent young man. I am thankful that Scouting was a major formative instrument in his life.

I also saw the love, care, and support that each Eagle Scout receives from his family. Each of the Scouts publicly recognized his mother and father during the ceremony for the sacrifice and commitment each parent has displayed. It is truly rare to see a teenager appreciate his parents publicly these days.

Santa Clarita, you should feel extremely proud that these four excellent young men came from our community and now live and work among us today. Mr. Noonan, your leadership as Scoutmaster for Troop 609 has truly made an impact in our community. Mr. and Mrs. Morris, Mr. and Mrs. Sayegh and Mr. and Mrs. Subbarao, you have honored us by being good parents and giving us the gift of your Eagle Scout sons.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right About Now" runs Mondays in The Signal.


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