Sunday, October 9, 2011

My non-quilting life

As some may already know, Scouting plays a rather large role in my life. The Far East Council brings American Scouting to youth in Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Philippines, and Taiwan and although it is much a part of the military program, the civilian community benefits from all Scouting has to offer. I have been in the program as a Cub Master ever since women were allowed to that position and served in many positions at District and Council level. Not all my Scouts are American citizens. Some belong to the chartering organization , some go to international schools, and some are returning boys who joined the BSA while in the States. One thing they all have in common is that they belong to a revolving door community. The usual stay is two or three years.

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.


  1. Julie that is gorgeous!!! 1. It is a lovely idea to carve them for the boys when they reach Eagle Rank and 2. It is just a work of art. My Dad used to carve a little wood but I could never do it! I am so impressed! Do you carve anything else? Honestly - folded grass hoppers, hand pieced quilts AND carved eagles - I am Impressed!!!

  2. Thank you for telling us all about the Scouts and what an important part the organisation (and the people like you) play in the lives of young people. Itis so important to give them a sense of belonging, another family if you like, and to build their self esteem and life skills. I'm sure your carvings are treasured and how wonderful it is to hear back from the boys you have been involved with. You go girl!

  3. What a wonderful story Julie! To give of yourself so diligently, to persevere over the years even when there had to be times when you grew tired, to follow your young men through until completion is a mighty task. I salute you for remaining faithful to your trust. blessings, marlene

  4. Wow, Julie,
    I am amazed at all you accomplish. The slides are a beautiful work of art. I just know that you are an important part of these scouts lives and they are lucky to have you.

  5. Kudos for your positive influence in so many young lives.

  6. This is wonderful. Thank you for helping those boys become men.

  7. It is difficult moving from one community to another, but how nice that there is an established group ready to welcome them.

    Congratulations on your beautiful workmanship. I can't imagine where to begin with something like that. Slowly, slowly, we are getting a small picture of a multi talented woman.

  8. Hello Julie,

    The carved statues are very beautiful! I also love the emblem Tokyo & Japan!!!

    Have a lovely week!

    Sandra :)

  9. Hi Julie! What an achievement (for the young man) and wonderful and honoring also to return to his former troop for this event. I'm so happy that you will be able to attend! Their lives, I'm sure, have been enriched by knowing you.
    ... Karen

  10. Your eagles are beautiful! Great story, of course. I just sent it to my hubby to read. I hope the ceremony was lovely.

  11. What an amazing gift. I am sure they are all treasured. I was in scouting myself for 12 yrs and really got a lot out of it.

  12. Wow, your slide is amazing. A quilter and a carver! I'm impressed! How wonderful to think of all the wonderful young men you've helped to mold.