FRAMINGHAM, Mass. –
“Welcome to the 2012 Convocation of Eagles,” said William Downey III, “a convocation of eagles is a group of eagles soaring together on a thermal.”
A different type of eagles gathered in a wooden lodge set back from the road on wooded stretch of land on the Framingham and Sudbury town line on Sept. 15, 2012.
They are Eagle Scouts and approximately 50 holders of the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank had gathered for the Knox Trail Council’s celebration of the 100 years of the Eagle Scout Award. The oldest Eagle present received his award in 1938; the youngest this year. They represented a vast spectrum of the professional world; from the public and private sectors to the military.
For Chris Anderson, an Eagle Scout and the Master of Ceremonies for the convocation, finding out who the keynote speaker was came as a bit of a shock.
“He and I first met in 2003,” said Anderson, a sales engineer, “in the desert, when we were both deployed at the same time for Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Anderson currently holds the rank of master sergeant in the Massachusetts Air National Guard‘s 276th Combat Communications Squadron.
The keynote speaker is a fellow Eagle Scout, Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General (Acting), Massachusetts National Guard.
For Rice, whose military career began as an ROTC cadet while in college, the lessons he learned in scouting carried over to the military.
“The Boy Scouts, from Cub Scouts to Webelos to Boy Scouts instilled in me duty, honor, country … ,” said Rice, “The values that it instills in you to be able to work with people and to accomplish a task. It [scouting] provided discipline, goal setting with objectives … when I joined the military, it almost seemed natural.”
It wasn’t just the values, work ethic or discipline that would aid Rice in his military career as a fighter pilot, another staple of scouting helped.
“You look at the survival skills … the survival training that we went to,” said Rice, “a lot of these events and the things that we did were the just the same as being … in Boy Scouts.”
Rice and his wife Ann returned to scouting when their son Leon joined the Tiger Cubs in First grade and remained active until he became an Eagle Scout.
“They instill that pride in you … Be Prepared; Do a Good Turn Daily,” said Rice, “I highly encourage everyone … if they have that opportunity to be part of scouts, because it really, really made me … [It is] a deep part of who I am.”
The values that Rice refers to can be found in the Scout Law which all scouts recite. The Scout Law states that a Scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
It is these values that many parents look at when they encourage the sons to enter scouting.
“Promoting good values … promoting good citizenship … which is something that is very important to me,” said Carolyn Dykema, state representative, 8th Middlesex District, “ I think it is extremely important to start kids at a young age, being involved in their towns … supporting their neighbors. I think that at the end of the day, that’s the most meaningful thing we can do.”
Dykema had asked if she could bring along her son Andrew, a Webelos Scout, so that he could meet some of the Eagle Scouts. “To expose him to other folks who have been down that path already, to hear the lessons that they learned along the way and what they got out of it [scouting],” said Dykema, “hopefully he’ll be an Eagle Scout himself.”