A Scout is Trustworthy


Over the last weekend, I had the opportunity to enjoy many hours of windshield time traveling to Scouting events at Camp Bartlett.  It gave me plenty of time to consider and contemplate a few items that have recently been on my mind.  One of those is the importance of having integrity and being trustworthy.  So on my return I spent one afternoon going through some of my old Scouting resource books looking for thoughts, ideas, and stories to share.  I have always found it interesting that in the Scout Law being trustworthy comes first.  Unfortunately, in the world today, too many have forgotten the value of this important character trait. 

I hope you enjoy some of these thoughts and stories and take the time to help a Scout or Scouter along the trail who needs a gentle reminder.

Allen Endicott
Scout Executive

Destruction From Within

A giant tree was standing on the slopes of the Rockies when Columbus discovered America.  How many times it had been hit by lightning and bent by storms before he came, we do not know.  But there are visible evidences that lightning had hit it six or seven times since, and it has stood the ravages of floods, the destructive forces of violent storms and has furnished shelter for many kinds of wild animals during these storms.  But now it lays crumbling in decay on the mountain side, brought to a state by the work of termites eating away its strength and heart from within.  Their destructive power was not visible from the outside until it was too late.  The insidious work of hidden destroyers had felled a giant.

(The Scouter’s Minute, Published by the General Board, Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1957)

A Warped Wheel

If you loosen five or six adjoining spokes on a bicycle wheel, it will warp out of shape so that it no longer makes a true circle.  Pretty soon you’re going to have a bumpy ride.

Your character is something like a bike wheel.  The spokes are a series of rules that in Scouting we call the Scout Law.   The points of our Scout Law are guides to help you stay straight and true.

If you get loose and sloppy on any point of the Law, the result will be the same as loosening the spokes on a bike wheel.  Your personality will be warped and out of shape.

One way to stay true to yourself is to keep your observance of the Scout Law always foremost in your mind.  When doubts creep in and you might consider violating one of the points of the Law, think about the warped, out-of-shape bike wheel and resolve to live up to the ideals of Scouting.

(Woods Wisdom, The Boy Scouts of America)

Spell it Honesty

Tonight we’ve spent a lot of time talking about ethics – about honesty and fairness and respect for others.  Now I’ll tell you a true story about a Scout who showed what those things mean.

His name is Andrew J. Flosdorf, and in 1983 he was a First Class Scout in Troop 42 of Fonda, NY.  Andy was in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., competing for the championship and a chance for a scholarship.

During a break in the competition, Andy went to the judges and told them that although they thought he had spelled “echolalia” correctly, he had mistakenly substituted an “e” for the first “a” in the word, which is the name of a speech disorder.  He said he discovered his error when he looked it up afterward.

By admitting the mistake, which the judges hadn’t caught, Andy eliminated himself from the competition.  The chief judge said, “We want to commend him for his utter honesty,” and the crowd gave him an ovation.

But Andy didn’t tell them about his error to earn cheers.  He wanted to win as much as the other contestants, but he wanted to win fairly.

“The first rule of Scouting is honesty,” Andy told the judges.  “I didn’t want to feel like a slime.”

I don’t know what has happened to Andy Flosdorf since then, but I’m sure of two things.  He learned one of Scouting’s most important lessons, and he gave us an example of honesty and fairness that all of us should shoot for.

(Woods Wisdom, The Boy Scouts of America)

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