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A good speech by Gov. Locke

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A couple of weeks ago I was helping out at our Councils fund raising auction. One our Scouters invited Gary Locke our states (Washington) governor, Eagle Scout, and Camp Omache staff member to speak. Here is copy of his speech:



Henry M. Jackson Heritage Auction

November 8, 2003

926 words/MSW



Good evening. I am honored to be here. Honored to be at this event whose namesake, Scoop Jackson, played such a significant role in the history of both Washingtons. And honored to have this opportunity to talk about scouting.


As I stand here this evening, my mind is filled with the memories of my development as a Boy Scout.


It all started with a camping trip I took with my Aunt and Uncle when I was just five years old.


I will never forget the sense of awe I felt as we walked in the rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula. The thrill of standing beside a wild river waiting for a fish to strike. The feeling of being in another world, a beautiful world with all kinds of new sights and sounds and smells.



My camping trip had fired me with enthusiasm to explore the outdoors. But my parents ran a grocery store that was open seven days a week. They worked very long hours and worked very hard. No vacations, no time off. It was extremely difficult for my Dad to break away from the store and our familys livelihood to take me camping. So my parents urged me to join the Boy Scouts. I jumped at the chance.


Scout leaders became an extended family, and Scouting was a great adventure.


I enjoyed scouting from the start. I felt the same sense of pride and accomplishment earning my first merit badge as I did finishing my Eagle Scout service project. I will never forget the look on my parents faces, beaming with pride at my Eagle Scout Court of Honor.


Its hard to make it all the way to Eagle Scout, as you all know. There were so many competing interests. School, sports, cars. And girls. On average, only four out of every hundred scouts earn the rank of Eagle. I am very proud to be among them.

I became active in the Order of the Arrow. Through all my high school and most of my college summers, I worked at Camp Omache in the Cascades.


Even now, many of my dearest friends and most enjoyable memories are from my Scouting days.


I am immensely proud of my years in Scouting. And I am forever grateful for the nurturing I received, and for all that Scouting has helped me become.


Scouting has always been one of Americas most reliable developers of character and leadership. It teaches the ethic of service, and the discipline to get any job done.


And Boy Scout leaders have always been generous not just with their money,

but with a far more precious resource --their time.


To millions of kids like me, that has made all the difference.


Todays youth desperately need people to make a difference in their lives. Never have the pressures and challenges been greater.


The information explosion, an affluent society, and greater mobility make trouble easier to find. Pervasive pop-culture icons and pseudo-values make it easier for young people to believe they arent measuring up, arent cool enough, arent good enough.


Hard-working parents and over-burdened teachers make individual attention and quality time elusive. These factors are a formula for bad decisions and dire, lasting consequences.


Too often, kids today spend their free time with a video game, cable TV show, or Internet chat site. A drug or a gang or a street scene. These are not good ways to become all that one can be.


The era of big government is over. Here in Washington, the number of state employees is droppingwe have one of the lowest percentages of state employees per capita in the nation. Tough economic times have restricted our ability to do all the things wed like to do as a state. Increasingly, we must rely on strong communities and organizations like the Boy Scouts of America.


Scouting has never been more important. And it has never been more important to support programs like this that help young people.


Young boysand now girlslearn many life lessons from Scouting. The American spirit of adventure and the gift of self-confidence. An abiding love of our environment. Compassion and caring toward others and the desire to help. Optimism, appreciation of diversity; and a lifelong commitment to service. And a sense of personal responsibility and self-discipline.


Scouting creates heroes. Not just those who perform death-defying acts of bravery, although scouts have been known to save the day and face danger to help others.


No, the truly valuable heroism scouting teaches is everyday heroism. The everyday heroism that makes a good and active citizen, day in and day out for the whole span of their lives. Reading books to children. Creating opportunities for young people. Caring for neighbors. Speaking out for those who are unable or afraid to speak for themselves. Working on community projects. And building strong, safe and friendly neighborhoods.


Scouting trains the future leaders well need to make our country all that it can be in the years ahead.


Once a Scout, always a Scout. In my duties as a governor and as a dad, I rely heavily on those tried and true principles of Scout Law: Trustworthy; Loyal, Helpful; Friendly; Courteous; Kind; Obedient; Cheerful; Thrifty; Brave; Clean; Reverent. I try to remind myself daily of these principles. They serve as an invaluable guide to my actions and decisions. Scouts like me will be forever grateful to the Boy Scouts of America. You are making a big difference, and an invaluable contribution to our youth and to our country.


God Bless you, and thank you.


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