Where Eagles dare
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
A traditional portrayal of a Boy Scout has him helping a little old lady cross the street. But what if the senior citizen turned around and helped the young man advance to Scouting's highest rank? It happened, and not once or twice, but three times recently at a Colorado senior care complex.
Three young men who worked in the dining department at Wind Crest, a continuing care retirement community about 20 miles south of Denver, earned the rank of Eagle. They praise Wind Crest residents for helping them soar to such rare heights. It's safe to say twin brothers Peter and Kyle McCall, as well as good friend Grant Bolei, all of Troop 36, learned the value of networking early on.
In addition to completing the usual Eagle badge requirements, they also benefited from discussions with long-time Scouters who just happened to be residents at Wind Crest. One was Dick Coan, who spent 45 years as Scoutmaster, leader, trainer and more. Oh yes, Coan also is an Eagle Scout himself, as are two of his three sons. (Once an Eagle, always an Eagle, as the saying goes.)
This is what operators should realize is a perfect relationship: Residents with Scouting in their background (at any level, not just Eagle) being able to connect with a younger generation yet again. Young men intent on further developing their character and leadership skills can benefit mightily from those who have gone before them. Likewise, seniors benefit from being able to share their stored up knowledge and wisdom.
Long-term care providers would be wise to survey their residents as soon as possible to learn who has a Scouting background. Ask the question, and you will know the answer simply by seeing proud eyes light up. Without fail, Eagles have their pride and fond reminiscences, and rightfully so.
Providers also should actively welcome Boy Scouts in any configuration into their facilities — as employees, volunteers or visitors. Go to local web pages or contact a local Boy Scout council office directly. Scouts are often in search of good service projects, so you could only help yourself if you have some of those ready as possibilities, both large and small.
The full story on the Wind Crest Eagle Scouts is here. Give it a look. It notes how the generations mixed and helped one another. It also describes the youths' Eagle projects, and it further details the vast, enormous positive impact Boy Scouting has had across the country. Literally millions of hours of service have been performed due to Boy Scouts doing their best.
It's about time you found out if any or your residents have Scouting in their background. And it's also high time you got current Boy Scouts regularly showing up at your community. The potential benefits for all involved are too great to ignore.
Jim Berklan is Editor at McKnight's, as well as a Scoutmaster, Eagle Scout and father of an Eagle Scout. Follow him on Twitter @LTCEditorsDesk.