Eagle: Matthew Joyce

Eagle Court of Honor
January 2001

Last night I was visiting an old friend. I had grown up with him, been in Scouts with him, and proudly watched as he, too, became an Eagle Scout. In our discussions, I mentioned to him that I would be attending Matt’s Eagle Court of Honor today, and had still not written my Scoutmaster’s Minute. I am embarrassed to say that I was without words me, of all people Mr. On and On and On.

Well, while we reminisced of our childhood and the many crazy adventures that we had been through together, my minute came to me. I suddenly realized not only what the Boy Scouts of America were, and what being an Eagle Scout was, but what it all meant, at least to me.

When I look at all my closest friends, my greatest adventures, my best achievements, they all revolve around scouting. I remember my first campout as a Boy Scout, a camporee at Stratham Hill Park in May of 1972. My older brother, David, was the Senior Patrol Leader of the troop.

I remember the hundreds of campouts I have taken throughout the years, most of them included my other brothers, Rick and Paul. Hiking the White Mountains; canoeing in beaver swamps; real winter camping, where everything froze, including boots; Order of the Arrow weekends; I could go on and on about these, and many of you have heard me do just that.

I remember the pride in my family’s eyes when I became an Eagle Scout. You can see the same pride now, in the Joyce’s eyes. So what does this all mean?

If you ask 10 men if they were a Boy Scout, probably 9 of them will answer yes. Two will have dropped out after a year of two. Three would probably have made it past First Class. Two may have made it to Life Scout. One may even be an Eagle. But what they will all talk about will be the fellowship, the activities, and the adventures that they had. None will talk of the skills that the learned. What they have become, through Scouting, are brothers. They may travel the world, but when they meet a fellow scout, they will talk as if they have known each other for years, as brothers.

Matthew has now become a unique young man. Throughout his life he will always remember his crazy adventures, his achievements, his closest friends. He will, someday, be an adult leader. He may not believe it right now, but he has no choice. It is part of him, and he cannot avoid it. He won’t even try to.

The difference between an Eagle Scout, and other scouts is simple. It is not the pin or the patch. It is not the benefits that you receive throughout your life as an Eagle Scout. It is that you have proven yourself and your abilities to your family, and your brothers. Over the years, there have been scouts that have earned the rank of Eagle by just fulfilling the requirements, and there have been scouts that have earned the Eagle pin gloriously. Neither scout is any better than the other, unless they choose to be. The true measure of an Eagle Scout is how their fellow scouts accept them.

Dick and Sandy, as Scoutmaster of Troop 20, I congratulate you on this achievement. I know how much effort is put in by the parents, as well as the boy. And you should be very proud of your son.

Matt, as your scoutmaster, I am also proud of you. You have striven for a goal, and have done well in achieving it. As an Eagle Scout, I welcome you to the honored group of men that have achieved the highest in Scouting. As a fellow Boy Scout, I congratulate you, and as your Scoutmaster, I charge you with this:

  • Remember where you came from, because you can not go backwards
  • Remember your friends from scouting and think of them as brothers. They will always be there for you
  • Remember what you have gained from Scouting, and give at least half back to it
  • Live by the Scout Oath and Law

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