“What Scouting Means to Me” by Jonah Lance

Jonah Lance

PARSIPPANY — Jonah Lance, 16, a member of Scouts BSA Troop 173 was a keynote speaker at “2021 Parsippany Good Scout Awards Dinner” on Thursday, December 2.

Jonah read the following inspirational speech:

Jonah Lance

Good evening! I would like to thank the Patriots Path Council for giving me this opportunity to speak in front of all of you today. It is an honor to share my story of scouting with you. It all began ten years ago when I was a six-year-old boy who wanted to join scouts simply because I thought the uniform was cool.

Little did I know then what an impact scouting would have on my life! As an only child whose father was not an active part of my life, being he lived in North Carolina, scouting became a second family to me. My fellow scouts became my brothers who I have enjoyed camping, hiking, and having fun with during all of our adventures.

The leaders became my role models, who guided and taught me so much not only about scouting but more importantly about myself and life in general. Through scouting, I have gained strong leadership skills that have helped me find success in all aspects of my life including academics, athletics, church, and my community. For example, this past lacrosse season I received the Iron Man Award for dedication, determination, always giving 100%, and always being there for my teammates!

I credit scouting for teaching me these important skills and helping earn this recognition. Scouting has also given me the opportunity to help and give back to others in need in my community through collections for the food pantry, coat and toy drives, and mowing lawns. Not only that, it also taught me basic life and survival skills I know I will carry with me throughout life, such as teamwork and collaboration.

This past summer at the National Youth Leadership Training Camp I had to work with a diverse group of scouts to run a patrol by completing various tasks throughout the week. It was not always easy being we all had different ideas, strengths, and weaknesses but together we overcame our differences and found success. Scouting has taught me how to set up camp, start a fire, and navigational skills (what other 16-year-olds do you know that can use a paper map to guide himself and his friend through mountain bike trails in the woods … no help from Siri here.

Through scouting, I have accomplished things I never thought I could do on my own like sleeping in a tent by myself in the middle of the woods for a week or cooking my very own meals over an open fire – At camp, I became known as Lunch Lady Jonah because I was the best cook there. As you can see, scouting has had a huge impact on my life. It truly has shaped me into the young man I am today and I could not be more thankful and could not imagine what my life would be like today if I didn’t join just so I could get the cool uniform!

Jonah is a junior at Parsippany Hills High School and plans to be a Parsippany Police Officer upon graduating college.

Reprinted from Parsippany Focus Magazine, December 2021. Click here to view.