Saturday, March 15, 2014

We’re a Scouting Family…or Who is the Eagle more important to now?

Quinn Alec Hoover

Growing up, literally, at Camp Sinoquipe, I spent my first five summers as a child there.  I lived in Wherret Lodge with my family since my father was the Handicraft Director. We were a Scouting family, my mom was a Den Mother for ALL four of her sons and three of us earned the rank of Eagle. My oldest brother actually passed away after having an aneurism at Sinoquipe, so he never made it that far. His memorial plaque can be seen on the wall of the Handicraft Lodge.  Between all of the Scouters in my family, we attended five different Jamborees, held numerous positions in the OA Lodge, were members of the Ceremony and Dance teams, honored as Vigil members, camp staff … you name it, there was a Hoover in it during the ‘70s and ‘80s. My father passed away at a Scout function in Winchester in 1981. Like I said, we are a Scouting family.  

When it came time for me to earn my Eagle Scout, I was tired. I was burned out. I did all of the above and still participated in sports and other activities at school. I really didn’t care if I finished Eagle Scout or not. It wasn’t important to me.  I didn’t see a need to finish it. Who cared … really? Well, MANY people cared! When I turned 17 in 1986, several men, fatherly types, big brotherly types, all stepped in.  They coached, coaxed and literally pushed me to the finish line. I turned in my paper work in March 3 … four days later, I turned 18. Relief! Success! Pride! I was overwhelmed at what I had done. I was overwhelmed at how happy I had made all those around me. Oh, how my mother beamed with pride as she pinned her third Eagle. Apparently it was as important to them as it was to me. Looking back, I will call it my single greatest accomplishment as a youth. Above all the academic awards, sports victories, team captain, varsity teams … nothing compares to my EAGLE. 

Fast forward about 10 years, I have two sons. I see other parents running here and there dragging their kids to three different sports EVERY SEASON. I told my boys, you can participate 2 activities, SCOUTS … and whatever else you choose. Remember, we’re a Scouting family. I served as Cub Scout Den Leader, Committee Member, Cub Master—two or three times each— supporting the units my sons were involved in at the time. As my oldest crossed over to Boy Scouts, I became active with the troop while maintaining my position with the Cub Pack of my youngest son. My oldest made his way through the ranks, joined the Potamac Dancers, became a member of the OA, and attended the Jamboree. He was well on his way to a life of Scouting. He became active with school functions, church functions and the busy social life of a teenager. He, too, started to burn out. I could see it, so we pushed and pushed. He plugged along and I tried to point out the importance of him to finish. There were scholarships available to Eagle Scouts, it would look good on college entrance forms and future job resumes, the military would promote him … the reasons were endless and it was important to a lot of people, and it should have been to him. Unfortunately, youth cannot see the fruit of this labor until they are much older and able to look back on the successes that stemmed from earning this award.

Eventually, many people offered to help finish his project. Many people offered money, time, materials … anything we needed to finish his project. The project needed very little done to be complete, yet the phone calls and messages continued. Support to finish the project, help with paper work, whatever it would take to get it done, there was someone willing to do the work. We had so much support for my son to earn his Eagle. It was that important to that many other people. You see, my son, Quinn Alec Hoover, passed away at the age of 17 on March 18, 2012.  His project sat dormant on the garage floor until June of that year. Literally, 24 long deck screws and three signatures kept my son from earning his Eagle while he was alive. With one month until his birthday, I relived my own Eagle: "Several men, fatherly types, big brotherly types all stepped in.  They coached, coaxed and literally pushed me to the finish line."  The parts were hung, the signatures attained, the papers filed. Nothing left but to wait for National to approve the first posthumous Eagle Scout Award for the Mason-Dixon Council. My son earned his Eagle because it was that important to everyone else. Even as I write this, I am pushing along yet another Scout to earn his Eagle. It’s just that important to me. Hopefully like so many before him, he will look back and see it as the single most important accomplishment of his youth. Like I said, we are STILL a Scouting family.  

By Tom Hoover

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