Scouting has a lot to offer to these youth because wherever they go, there is another Scouting community ready to welcome them and help with the adjustment of moving to a new place. The sad part is that we have to say a lot of goodbyes.
When my boys leave, I tell them that I hope they will find another unit to join and continue with Scouting. I also encourage them to go for the Eagle rank, and, if they do, let me know and I will carve them an Eagle neckerchief slide. Bribe? Could be... Each year I get announcements of Eagle Courts of Honor and have sent slides all around the world. Some of those boys were just little kids when I last saw them. (Sometimes it is a little hard to imagine them as they are now but I am so happy to have been part of their lives during their growing years).Sometime they are brothers of Eagles and at least two families have three slides.
Last week I received a letter with a Singapore stamp on it. It is an invitation to an Eagle COH and it will be held this evening here in Tokyo. The young man is returning to Tokyo to hold his big event with his former troop. For once I will be able to attend. The slide is all made and I will write a note to give with it.
This particular slide is carved from Japanese Broad-leaved Magnolia. I have three kinds of wood that I like to use. This one is not the most beautiful but it carves nicely and takes the paint well.
This is one of two patterns I repeat over the years. I also carve a slide for my Cubs if they meet the "Cubmaster's Challenge". That is to graduate to Boy Scouts having done everything in the book, including the religious award and the environmental patch. (It is possible to earn the Arrow of Light award by doing a certain amount of the advancement requirements) It is interesting how many boys that set their goals to earn my challenge, make it all the way to Eagle and replace one neckerchief slide with the other.
As I was working on finishing the slide, my husband asked how many I had made all together. I have no idea but I hope some day those young men will dig out the slides and put them on and give back to Scouting. They are my legacy and I am proud to have been part of their life.