National Chief's Closing Thoughts
2001 National Chief
The past twelve months have been nothing short of the most incredible
during my lifetime. I vividly remember the morning of my election. I
pinched myself time and again (literally) to see if it was real. I couldn't
believe that I had just been elected the 2001 National Chief of the Order of
the Arrow. It's a realization that very few of us will ever have the
opportunity with which to come to terms. I can assure you that I never
thought I would be writing these very words, the final thoughts of my term,
just one year ago today.
So many moments stand as an example of this excellent year.
Countless memories keep me awake at night as I hope for a chance to live
them all over again. My most memorable moments weren't in times of glory,
presenting the BSA's Report to the Nation to President George
W. Bush or standing on stage at the National Scout Jamboree, but rather in
meeting the thousands of youth who bring the dreams of the Order, Dr.
Goodman's vision, to life. My best moments came as I paddled to base camp
after two weeks on the water at Northern Tier in realization that I had just
accomplished the most challenging feat of my life, in talking at length with
members of the Founder's Advisory Council about Dr. Goodman and how he could
captivate any audience (large or small), and in seeing the shining eyes of a
youth who told me that I kept him from dropping out of Scouting. These
were the times that I will revere with the utmost regard in my own heart.
This year has brought so many developments in my life. I have not
only developed as an Arrowman--an expert on policy, history, and program--
but also as a human being. My work in handling most of the day-to-day
affairs of our nearly 183,000-member organization has taught me that I am
capable of attaining any goal that I may seek in life. It has given me a
sense of accomplishment and confidence. More importantly, the experience
has blessed me with the most important friends and colleagues of my life.
The companionship of our members represents a compassion and a unique
quality, the likes of which can be found nowhere else in the world. Moreover,
the past year has made me humble. I have grown to appreciate the life of a
simple, public servant. Servant leadership has recently become my newest
passion and has shaped my academic as well as my occupational goals. For
this, I am eternally grateful.
The knowledge gained from twelve months as chief has put me at the
brink of my skill. Not only have I furthered my leadership style and public
speaking abilities, but I have also gained an in-depth perspective into the
lives of those who may live a life much different from my own, who may share
different views than I, but who stand for the same ideals and basic set of
principles. The tens of thousands of Scouts I have met during my travels
have given me a glimpse of what life is all about. They have put me in
touch with my spiritual side, made me continually less selfish, and have
shown me what I am capable of achieving. This has been, perhaps, the
greatest gift I have ever received.
As I prepare to pass the bonnet at our National Planning
Meeting in Dallas, Texas, I look back and smile, I shed a brief tear, and I
think to myself, "what an incredible dream it has been." I hope that I have
made a difference. I hope that I have had an impact. What I know is this:
Scouting is forever, and the spirit of the Order will always be a lighted
flame in the heart of each of our members. I am so blessed to have
represented this distinguished organization.