I had achieved the rank of Life Scout and had most of the merit badges I needed for the rank of Eagle Scout. But then I stalled out on advancement. I was active in my troop, but I wasn't earning new advancements. My friend Cory was in the same boat. Like me, he had climbed to the Life rank, but had taken a breather.
One day I noticed that Cory was staying after school. I asked him what was up with that. Was he in trouble? He explained that he was staying after to take a merit badge class from one of the English teachers. I had no clue that this man was a merit badge counselor. Cory encouraged me to attend the class with him.
Within a few weeks I had earned several new merit badges and had learned some new skills. I still remember my parents taking me to the teacher's home to pass off the Home Repairs merit badge, among others.
Thanks to Cory's encouragement, I got back on the trail to the Eagle rank. I finished the requirements and attended my board of review in the spring of that year. A few months after my court of honor, I was able to attend the court of honor where Cory was awarded his Eagle rank.
True friends help us become better than we would be without their friendship. So-called friends that lead us down ignoble or stagnating paths are not friends at all.
Throughout my lifetime involved in scouting, I have developed many friendships. Sometimes years—even decades—go by between occurrences of seeing an old scouting friend. Yet I find that these friendships still uplift me.
This past summer I encountered a man that I knew as a youth many years ago. He lives across the country. I have heard about him because one of my sons has worked on camp staff with some of his sons. We enjoyed becoming reacquainted and reminiscing about old times. He was a fine individual back in the day and he is a better individual today. What a great experience it was to see my friend again.
Being friendly is more than just focusing on close acquaintances. It means showing good will to others, regardless of whether we know them or not.
Years ago when I attended a National Order of the Arrow Conference I met a young man named Bob who was from another state. Bob was the epitome of a friendly scout. Bob was great to be around. He seemed to naturally lift those around him toward their better selves. I don't remember Bob's last name or even where he was from. But I remember his friendliness toward me.
Ennobling friendship and friendliness are qualities the Boy Scouts seeks to instill in its members.
A scout is friendly.