Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries

To Carry the Torch of Honor

Donald C. Jackson

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874608.ch17

I have been associated with scouting (Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America) for more than 60 years. I began as an 8-year-old boy in Bloomfield, Kentucky and have been in scouting ever since. As a youth in Arkansas, I earned the rank of Eagle Scout. As an adult, I’ve served in various volunteer leader positions (for boys) in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Exploring/Venturing and also (for girls) in Brownie Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Senior Scouts. I continue to do so, currently serving as the aquatics director for Boy Scout/Cub Scout summer camps (50 years of lifeguarding!).

The guiding principles of scouting are summed up in the Boy Scout Promise:

On my honor … I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and to my country, and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Similarly, the Girl Scout Promise states,

On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Both the Boy Scout and Girl Scout promises begin with the words “On my honor.” This is a commitment of personal responsibility to be true to one’s self in order to be true to others. It challenges us to aspire to excellence and never make peace with mediocrity and, along the way, to serve as an enabler, one who assists others in achieving their goals within diverse arenas. It recognizes our humanity and, in so doing, stresses that, in order to be effective we absolutely must take care of ourselves comprehensively, and that we are living, breathing, flesh and blood human beings, not machines. First and foremost, however, is honor.

The promises also dedicate one’s self to the points of their respective laws. For the Boy Scouts, the law is

A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

For the Girl Scouts, the law is

I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do; and respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, and make the world a better place; and be a sister to every Girl Scout.