For those of you who known me know that I love old movies. My favorite movies are from the 40s and 50s, but I have a couple of favorite movies from the year I was born, 1972. One is Jeremiah Johnson with Robert Redford. I must have seen that movie 50 times already. Another favorite is called The Cowboys with John Wayne.
In the movie The Cowboys, the name of the character played by John Wayne is Will Anderson. Will is a 60 year old cattle rancher who has hundreds of cattle that he needs to get to the beef market which is hundreds of miles away from his ranch. The movie seems to be set in the 1880s. Will Anderson tried to find some cowboys to help him get his cattle to market, but there was some gold mining activity in the area, and all of the seasoned cowboys left to find their fortunes in gold.
Will Anderson had to go into a school to recruit a group of 11 through 15 year old school boys to help him get his cattle to market. Many of the boys were scared, and they had a lot to learn. They had to face the unknown in the open range. But with the guidance of Will Anderson, they grew in their abilities and became confident in themselves.
That’s a lot of what we do in Troop 215. We help these young men grow in their abilities and their confidence. They learn from each other how to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
The Cowboys is one of only a few John Wayne movies where his character dies. The cattle were still 3 or 4 days from the market, and some thieves stole the herd of cattle after they shot Will Anderson. After the young cowboys buried Mr Anderson, the boys took the cattle back from the thieves, and they were able to get the cattle to market.
We have had a very busy year in our Scout Troop. The skills that we have spent teaching these exceptional young men in the last many years have enabled them to do things without us. Let me give you an example.
This summer at Camp McKee, three of our scouts will be staying at camp for a few extra weeks in order to be Counselors In Training. One of our scouts has been selected as the Drum Team Chairman of Kawida Lodge. One of our scouts will be a guide at the National Youth Leadership Training at Camp McKee after summer camp. One of our scouts will be representing the Civil Air Patrol of Kentucky at the National Jamboree this summer. And our scouts who are now 18 years old, 9 of whom earned the Eagle Scout Rank in the past few years, will be going to college this fall. All of these new activities will be done by these young men without the guidance of their parents or any of the adult leaders of Troop 215.
In the scene where Will Anderson died in The Cowboys, Will addresses the young men who he guided across the prairie. His words are particularly fitting for what I would like to say to you guys tonight.
Will Anderson said,