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DO THEY GET COLD FEET?: Ducks paddle upstream at Third Dam in Logan Canyon. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, January 20, 2006

Variations on "truthiness":

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."

-- Mark Twain, author, newspaperman and humorist (1835-1910)

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Lewiston scouts recall benefits of earning Eagle rank

By Sarah Ali

December 13, 2005 | LEWISTON -- The Eagle rank is different from the regular ranks Boy Scouts receive, because rather than recognizing them for what they've done, it symbolizes the kind of person they've become. To earn this ranking scouts must work countless hours on a project that they design, manage and implement with the assistance of community volunteers.

According to the Boy Scouts of America statistics online, out of every 100 scouts only four reach the rank of an Eagle.

Utah communities have produced many Eagle scouts and Lewiston alone will see as many as six more come out in the near future, each with projects that will help improve the quality of life in Lewiston.

The Karren family, which has three Eagle Scouts, believes that achieving the Eagle rank was the one most rewarding experience they had as young men.

Troy Karren, who earned his Eagle in 1973 at the young age of 13, knows the benefits of achieving an eagle rank and has helped more than 12 scouts on their Eagle project. "The values taught to the scouts will affect how they will live in the future," he said. Karren is known through out the community as someone who is willing to help these young men and is often called upon for assistance.

"It's hard to say no, when you know what the project will do for them," he said. Both of Karren's sons have earned their Eagle. Wes, the younger of the two, received his last summer with the completion of six city signs that read "Welcome to Lewiston".

Karren's older son Dallin also received his Eagle at a young age, 14. "I wanted to get it out of the way cause there was other things that I needed to get done," he said. Dallin worked with the city's library after their computer systems had crashed. He helped label and organize many of the books. He had to manage all the volunteers and make sure they everything was done in an orderly manner.

Learning to be responsible was one of the main things Jessie Pitcher , 17, said he took from his Eagle Scout project. "I work harder at my job now," he said. Pitcher organized the clean up after the Fourth of July parade in 2002.

"I used to not like service projects, but now I'm more willing to help. If someone needs me I'll stop what I might have planned to do during my day to help," Pitcher said.

One of the most elementary lessons a Boy Scout can learn is to always be prepared. The Boy Scouts of America was criticized this summer during the national Jamboree for failing to uphold this motto.

"Since I've been in scouting, they've always told me to be prepared, mistakes do happen, accidents happen, they'll always happen," Pitcher said

Wes Karren, who attended the national jamboree this summer, said it was a failure of the individual scouts, not the organization. "They must have not listened to their scoutmasters, they told us two or three times a day to keep hydrated."

Troy Karren said that he believes the problem was based on lack of information, "folks just don't understand what heat and humidity can do," he said.

Despite the criticism the Boy Scouts of America have received, the organization is one of the best run in the country, according to Mike Bair, who earned his Eagle in 1984. "I don't think the incidents should even be associated with the organization -- I attended the jamboree 25 years ago and it was one of the most well organized. They did an amazing job," he said.

Zack King, who earned his Eagle in 2000, said if scouting has taught him anything it is to rely on himself. "Big brother can't always be there for you. Don't expect a hand out," he said.

King said that when he'd go on scouting trips as a troop his scoutmaster would tell them what to bring, it was his responsibility to remember to bring it.

One of the things Bair mentioned as key in his scouting experience is that it was an opportunity to learn how to be a leader and remain committed to the cause. He said that it is one of the most influential programs on young men's lives in America.


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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