Good afternoon. We are gathered here to honor Mitt Romney, Grady Little and Dan O'Neill as a “Good Scout”—someone who has, through his personal and professional conduct, achievements, and life, lived the Scout Oath and Law, the Motto and the Slogan. But what, really, is a “Good Scout”?

When I mention in a conversation that I was a Scout, the next question is, invariably, “Are you an Eagle Scout?” Scouting’s highest youth award, the Eagle Scout Award, is clearly ingrained in the public’s consciousness. They recognize that advancement is an integral part of the Scouting program, perhaps, to them, the only part.

Advancement is a large part of the Scouting program, but it is not the only part of the Scouting program. To understand where advancement fits into the Scouting scheme, it is important to understand what the Scouts hope to achieve with our program.

The Boy Scouts of America aims to develop Character, Citizenship, and Fitness in our nation’s young people. Character—a Scout’s personal qualities, his values, his outlook; Citizenship—making the Scout aware of his obligations to other people, to the society in which he lives, to the government that presides over that society; Fitness—a fit body, a creative mind, and a courageous heart. To build all of these in our Scouts, the BSA uses eight methods, one of which is Advancement.

Through the advancement program, Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles as well as steps to overcome them. The Scout sets the pace of his own advancement, developing self-confidence along the way. Through the advancement system, Scouts are challenged to become physically fit, better informed about and involved in our communities, and to live the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan.

The Advancement program supports the other methods by which Scouting instills Character, Citizenship, and Fitness in young people. No Scout can advance if he does not live the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan in his everyday life, a vital part of the Ideals method of delivering the Aims. A major component, and method, of the Scouting program is the patrol system; by advancing through the program, a Scout can better help his Patrol to become successful. Much of our advancement program is outdoor based, encouraging Scouts to gain a full appreciation of the outdoors. The skills that scouts learn in the Advancement program will also help them to become better leaders; in fact, in order to advance to Eagle rank, a scout must serve as a leader in his troop. The scout gets to show his achievement by wearing his rank on his uniform, building self-confidence and pride in his efforts. Through the Merit Badge program, Scouts are given an opportunity to interact with a wide variety of adults, role models who can serve as a positive influence on the Scout. Finally, all of the experiences that a scout has through the Advancement program helps them grow as a person. Advancement interacts with all of the other methods of Scouting, allowing the Aims to be met in a comprehensive way.
The Merit Badge program exposes them to a wide variety of interests, careers, and skills that will serve them for many years to come. The rank advancement program provides them with basic knowledge, such as knots, camping skills, flag care, and navigation skills that will not only assist them years after they’ve left the program, but also along their journey through the program.

Your presence here today allows this program to go forward. The District has an important role in this process, making advancement opportunities available to Scouts and encouraging adults to serve in the capacity of Merit Badge Counselors and Unit Leaders, each of whom is vital to the advancement program.

The Cambridge District is honored to recognize these three men, Good Scouts all, the personification of our advancement program. Their combined contributions to their families, their church, their communities and country are proof that leadership takes many forms. They are role models for all of our young scouts with their sights set on advancement.