Last year I wrote an article about an interesting Leadership Development Program that has had a significant impact on our society. This leadership development program starts incrementally at the age of 8. It culminates at the age of 15 or 16. Many of the participants of the program have went on to notable careers and distinguished service to their country. The list of graduates over the last century includes movie and television stars, six Medal of Honor recipients, Nobel Prize winners, novelists, a number of astronauts (including most Shuttle astronauts), Tuskegee airmen and Japanese-American internees, congressmen, senators and governors, an endless number of corporate CEOs and university presidents, a U.S. president, and the first man to walk on the moon.
This program is called the Boys Scouts.
The Eagle Scout is the highest rank of the Boys Scout. A person who attains this rank is called an Eagle Scout or Eagle. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men. The title of Eagle Scout is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle."
Last month the Eagle Scout Rank turned 100 years old.
A recent Gallup survey (for Baylor University) of Eagle Scouts found that Eagles are far more engaged with the world around them in almost every wayóin community service, club membership, churchgoing, outdoor recreation, and the fields of education, science and health.
Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout.
Scouting or what I will call The Leadership Development program has three aims, The first is to Develop Character. This aim builds self-reliance, self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-respect. The participants learn how improve themselves, their qualities, their values, and their outlook on life.
The second aim is citizenship. This aim focuses on nurturing respect of, participation in, contribution and caring for self, family, community, nation and world while fostering a commitment of service to others and the organization. Citizenship refers to the participantsí relationship to others - their obligations and contribution to people and to the society they live in.
The final aim is personal wellness. This aim encourages participants to develop life-long physical, mental, emotional, and moral wellness. Wellness includes a healthy strong body, a mind able to imagine and reason, and a spirit of courage, caring, and self-control.
This proven leadership development program is built upon a core set of ideals and values. As the participants demonstrate, through actions and what they call deeds, the internalization of these, they will progress successfully. The participants measure themselves against these ideals and continuously try to improve. The goals are highly challenging and as they reach them they assume control over what and who they are becoming.
The ideals are simple. Do your best in everything that you do. Your actions speak for themselves. Lead by example.
The second ideal is to be prepared to meet any challenge. Participants should be ready and able to do what is necessary in any situation that comes along. Be prepared to make a difference.
The values or what they call the law is quite enlightening. I will only mention a few:
TRUSTWORTHY, LOYAL, HELPFUL, FRIENDLY, COURTEOUS, KIND, OBEDIENT, CHEERFUL, THRIFTY, BRAVE, CLEAN and REVERENT.
My friends the track record is clear, this process builds Leaders and citizens ready to contribute to make a defense in our society. This is the farm club of the future leaders of our communities, our corporations and our country. At an early age in life they are being taught and provided with experiences that will develop those core competencies that all leaders should possess.
But letís look at those values once again. Arenít these the values that that we want in our society. What can we learn from the scouting blue print that can be applied in our education system, in our organizations in our communities?
Imagine learning to become good law abiding citizens in a fun filled outdoors environment, learning how to assume responsibility by participating as a team member in a camping expedition, learning how to respect the world around us when we go to summer camp, or leaning that we can all make a difference by participating in a service project dealing with the homeless. ect. ect. ect.
We really believe that this movement or similar ones can be one more tool that can be used to deal with the very serious and complex problems of our organizations and society.
At the end of a day we all have a responsibility; We can all make a difference, one small step at a time.
Thatís Leadership, and thatís what itís all about.
Copyright 2012 QBS, Inc.