Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. Psalm 119:9
Every young person needs adult help to reach her/his full potential in life. In 1907, British baron Lord Robert Baden-Powell (1857- 1941) founded the Boy Scouts to help boys of mixed social backgrounds grow into responsible men of good character. The movement quickly spread to the United States. Through the years, millions of boys joined the Scouts, earning merit badges for each skill achieved and rising in rank as the badges added up. Through hard work, persistence, and conquering of many challenges, a Scout can reach the ultimate level, that of Eagle Scout. Many men in leadership today point to their Eagle Scout training as the foundation for their success. (Baden-Powell image: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Robert-Stephenson-Smyth-Baden-Powell-1st-Baron-Baden-Powell/images-videos/media/48473/16293)
One such Eagle Scout is Art Polnasek, who, with his wife, Linda, have been responsible for eighty young men (so far) also earning that rank. Art and Linda began with their own three sons and have continued their good work, adding two new Eagle Scouts this past weekend: Brodyn E. Brown and my grandson, Forest W. Reese. (At left, Art is addressing the Scout troop.)
Forest’s father, Bill Reese, died in 2006, and my husband, David, has worked hard to fill in as “dad” in more ways than we can count. Looking for a program that would teach our grandson needed life skills, David took him to visit several Scout troops, finally finding a “home” in Troop 192 in St. Cloud, Florida. David also accepted the challenge of becoming a Scoutmaster, attending meetings, going on camping trips, helping with fundraisers, and generally sticking with Forest every step along the way as he earned his many merit badges. Our daughter Jane, who is Forest’s mother, served many a spaghetti dinner and sold many a box of popcorn as part of his various projects. He also received encouragement from his other granddad, Col. Robert Reese, US Army, ret. (At right, Col. Reese, Forest Reese, David Gouge)
One of the requirements to become an Eagle Scout involves the Scout completing a project that serves the community. Forest chose to organize the food pantry at the local senior citizens center. If you can picture a large room filled with plastic bags of random donations, then picture volunteers trying to sort through it and hand out helpful food and health items to the needy, you can see why Forest’s project was so important. He designed and build the shelves, organized the donations into types, labeled everything, and made it easy for volunteers to find what visitors to the food pantry needed.
During a solemn, inspiring ceremony, with their families watching, Forest and Brodyn received their Eagle Scout pins. The ceremony was followed by a barbecue dinner…and cake. It was a great sendoff into adulthood for two fine young men.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31