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Eagle scouts more than just badge collectors
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The polka-dots and psychedelic butterflies that decorated the tightly- packed church classroom fit the picture slideshow about as well as my old third grade perfect attendance t-shirt.

The butterflies were pretty, artsy, clean, delicate. The pictures were dirty; rugged men leading troops of eager ambitious kids, two of which were featured and being honored for their achievements.

In a society that’s becoming increasingly void of male role models coupled with pop culture suggesting that manhood is calculated by bankroll, sexual conquests and party ability, Troy Hoffdahl and Tim Cornish worked to become proficient in the ways of the outdoors and the true man-compass.

The ceremony in that pre-school themed room was to honor the ascension of this duo to Eagle Scout, an elite fraternity beyond ordinary Boy Scouts.

I’m no scout and have no badges, because we didn’t have Boy Scouts, but I can appreciate the journey these young men endured.

These two have cleaned more dirt from under their finger nails than city-boys have ever seen. Together they’ve hiked the equivalent of here to Reno and back — then back to Reno.

They’ve got more merit badges than our country has states. In a word, these young men are legit.

They learned skills that seem archaic to our plugged-in society, but it’s not just about the canoeing, camping, knot-tying or prowess with a hatchet.

It’s an honor that used to just be called life. Work involved sweat and movement, recreation involved the same, just add a little smile.

Unfortunately, kids sit sedated by inactivity; ironic, since coffee and energy drink consumption is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers. One would have to ask, if kids require so much more energy, why are they still trying to sleep in class?

Some of my best childhood memories involve the outdoors.

I know, I know, there was nothing else to do, but family games of tinfoil baseball after dinner at forest service cabins are some of my fondest recollections, because my parents chose time together as a means of parenting, not the television.

There are no levels, codes or cheat sheets to the real world, just an unconquerable vastness in which Tim and Troy will now more than likely excel.

And when the rigors of school, jobs, or humanity get too complex, they can escape to a simple shore by a lake, as Tim suggested in his speech, and refuel.

It goes without saying that one does not need a canoe, both parents, or the scouts to become a man or woman, Los Angeles would be in serious trouble. There are millions of kids that emerge from broken homes to be extremely successful.

But we have all heard statistics about kids that exercise versus those that don’t. Those with a specific moral direction against those without. Teenagers who are socially attached and held accountable, and those fending for themselves.

Those whose families are involved and supportive compared with those who aren’t. Kids who have positive adult influences, and kids that don’t.

We know what helps the odds of kids succeeding, and it was nice to see those two young men, supported by their families taking an advantage of such a program. More than that, it was refreshing to see the value those teenagers put on a code and way of life.

Many would say Boy Scouts isn’t for teenagers. They are right. The scouts are for teenagers striving to become men in the real sense of the word.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail