Dr. E. Urner Goodman
1975 NOAC Closing Challenge
It has been said that the
problem with many youth today is the fact that they have no one to look up to; no heroes, and no one by which they might pattern
their lives. For those of us here today, I’m glad that this is not the
case . . . for this is the truth,
for with us today is the founder of our Order: Dr. E. Urner Goodman.
I have a request to make,
I would like the house lights turned on so that I can see you. It’s not
too important for you to see me, but I want to see each of you. Can the general
house lights be turned on and this heavy stuff on me turned low? Can that be
That’s coming . . . a little more on the audience. I want to look you in the eye if I, if I may.
I find it hard, my brothers,
to get words to express enough how I feel about this conference. There have been
one thrill after another. Oh, there was some little incidents that I wondered
about, but on the whole I think it has been a great achievement and my thanks go to all those who had a part in that. I have here a list of those people; I won’t take time to read them. But you know in your hearts what you’ve done to make this perhaps the greatest conference on record
for the Order of the Arrow. It’s been a great, a great thing.
Well, it’s our 60th
anniversary. And when anybody has been around for 60 years, one has to do a little
Are there any people here
who were in the Order for that first year? If so will you stand up and yell?
No that isn’t
So far as I know. . .
. So far as I know, we have none of the very original members. In fact the man who stood by me, Colonel Edson, could not be here, as you know, because of illness to his
wife. But I shall report to him what happened.
So I, I looked at
myself at this stage of the game. I see what’s hanging from the rear here,
on my head . . . and. . . .
Never mind, never
mind the applause. Because really I owe that to my wife. And, I tell you my thoughts go back. And I’m beginning
to feel the stress of the years and so there won’t be many more opportunities to talk to you and maybe to attend a conference
On the other hand,
I feel a little bit like Uncle Dan Beard. How many of you knew Dan Beard in the
I see one hand, two
hands, three hands going up.
The first National
Commissioner of the Boy Scouts in America. An old friend of mine. And, when he reached his 90th birthday, I have not quite reached that one yet, when he reached
his 90th birthday he sent me a poem that he wrote for the occasion. This poem figured him looking at himself in a mirror in his home, and he wrote
these solemn words as he looked at himself:
Who is he? I say.
Who is that man, so old and wan?
cheeks are those so sunk and drawn?
Whose hair is that so white and thin?
Whose frosty beard . . .”
didn’t have a beard but he, he imagined anyhow. . .
“. . . so dour and grim?I know him not; I know now (sic) him.
Who is he?
Who is that guy?
Not I! not
I! no, no not I!
I am not old, I am not wan;
My cheeks are ruddy, my body
My posture’s upright, my features fair;
My head is crowned with nut-brown hair;
My steps are
springy when I walk;
My lips are smiling when I talk;
My eyes are bright
As a summer sky.
Old glass, you lie,
you lie, YOU LIE!
And that was Dan Beard.
And I feel a little
bit like that.
I was glad to have
my first scout here with me at this conference. A very active member of our lodge out on the pacific coast in the region of
San Francisco. I spent, Mrs. Goodman and I spent a week at his home incident
to the great gathering held in that part of the country a few months ago. And
as I was leaving him from that visit, I, I said:
“Gilson, how old you going to be your next
He looked me in the
eye, he was my first Scout, who got me into Scouting, really. He said:
“Next birthday, I’ll be 80 years
And that took me back
a little bit.
But I want to tell
you the secret is that when I became his Scoutmaster I was only four years older than he was.
And now you know the truth about my age.
Well there have been
over a million members of our Order. We don’t have the actual count. Over a million members of the Order. Men
who became happily, and I’m sure lastingly, members of this organization.
I sent out a little
feeler through the kindness of our national office and national secretary. I
sent out a little feeler to see whom each lodge would pick out as their particular representative in the Scout . . . in the, in the members of our Order of yesterday.
And so far I have
heard from 63 lodges. And by and large they are very interesting people.
I looked carefully
over the statements made about the people of yesterday in the Order, and here is what I found:
Number one. By and large the emphasis which was given to the selection of the individual which each lodge offered was,
not so much that he may be a great man like governors and congressmen or mayors or such; no emphasis on newspaper celebrities;
but as was expected in the first place, practically all of them, Arrowmen of outstanding value to the Scout movement in America.
About a third of them
have given their late lives to the field of education. One is a college dean
and another a Ph.D. in chemistry and so on along the line.
Another third now
hold civic office of value to their country and their community.
Fully an eighth of
them are leaders in church life in America, both clergy and laymen.
Four of them are devoting
their lives to the welfare of retarded children in their part of the world.
Five are outstanding
leaders in the field of business, now there was no information about how rich they had become, but they were at least outstanding
businessmen in America.
Two were expert in
the field of high adventure. And you can guess who they . . . what kind of people they were. They were both astronauts. Jim Lovell, for instance, and the
first man on the moon. Both of them astrona .
. . both of them, not only astronauts, but Arrowmen.
And one, hear this:
One had very nearly given his life, at least the risk of his life, for serving his country and for seven years was a prisoner
of war during the Second World War.
something of yesterday. But I am so happy that this conference started out on
the basis of searching for and building foundations for tomorrow.
And I, I want to add
my personal message to at least four of the great values that I see coming out of this conference for the welfare of tomorrow. Both the welfare of our Order and the welfare of the country we serve.
I have my eye on four
Number one is what
we might well call the motherland of our Order; the camp.
As some of you know,
or have heard, I was at Treasure Island in July of this year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Lodge number
One, on that old camping ground. I am sad to report that that old camping ground
is no more used as a camping ground. It would not be profitable under the present
financial conditions in that part of the country to use Treasure Island as a camping ground.
And that is not peculiar to the city of brotherly love, called Philadelphia.
There are great cities
in crowed territories in our country where what could be said of camping and the camping program in the Boy Scouts of America,
can no longer be said as it was a few years ago. Four years ago they were still
camping on Treasure Island and there were plenty of campers to go to summer camp. But
you see, when we started the camp on Treasure Island in 1915, the charge was five dollars a week to each camper, each Scout
Today it would have
to be forty-five dollars, not five dollars a week. And that makes some difference. Especially where the background of those who come to camp may be predominately in
the crowded sections of our country called the great cities and where it is more difficult to find the money to carry on.
I call for this, therefore,
my brothers. Believing that camping is a highly essential part of the Scout program
in this country or any country, that there will be built a more solid foundation for the continuance and the further strengthening
of the camping program in the Boy Scouts of America.
That I count a great
field for activity in the few years now immediately before us. And I presume
that we’re going to help, we of the Order, are going to help to build a firmer foundation there. So that that precious quality in a young man’s experience which he gets through camping, building
on his own shoulders ability for self-reliance in whatever field of life he enters as the years go by, is precious and must
Therefore, I call
upon you to do all you can in building that foundation that will strengthen the Order in its camping and strengthen the Scout
movement in its camping in days ahead.
The next program has
to do, if I can just find my notes quickly here as I expected to do. . . .
The next program carries
on into the field of . . . the 200th
anniversary of our country. Now I need say very little about that on the dramatic
portrayal that took place on this very platform a day or two ago. That was beautifully done.
I want to tell you
that in the family I come from the 200th anniversary of our country is a very significant thing. You see my great-great-grandfather had a carpenter’s shop in the heart of Philadelphia in which he
trained his company to go to war in the revolutionary effort of 1776.
And so we take the
200th anniversary rather strenuously in our family. And to match that
my dear wife comes from a family who originally lived in that central farmhouse at Washington’s Crossing, where Washington
crossed the Delaware.
Now I don’t
mean to say Mrs. Goodman was there when Washington crossed the Delaware.
I want to make that
But as her grandparents
had been occupying that house before, so that when they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the crossing of the
Delaware in . . . 100 years ago,
her antecedents were there to help, and serve coffee to the men that again crossed the Delaware to celebrate that anniversary.
I could tell you a
lot of things more, but I know that we are going to do our part in making that 200th anniversary in the year immediately
ahead something quite worthwhile.
Now let me go on to
my other recommendations for careful attention as the year 1976 grows on before us.
And I’m again
looking for the proper paper here on my desk that would give me my notes to follow at this time.
I am tremendously
pleased with what has happened during this week in the field of our attention to Indian lore and tradition in the promotion
of the right attitude toward our red brothers in this continent.
I am so pleased with
the action that just took with regard of awarding the Red Arrow to the man that has led the way in our relationship there.
I have this one suggestion
to offer to us as we go forward, lodge by lodge, in strengthening our relationship with the American Indian and his lore and
tradition. It is that we deepen our interest.
We do now a marvelous
job in terms of costume for the Indian dance and in the perfecting of the nature of the dance.
I ask that we, each
lodge, make a deeper study into the needs, the welfare, the history of the particular tribe resident in their corner of our
country. That, I think, is quite in order in this day and age. We have a great debt to pay yet to the Indian life in this continent which was treated so shabbily generations
ago. Let’s make that count!
And if I may suggest
a recent book published by the Geographic Association in this county. May I suggest
that you get . . . and I was recently
presented with a copy of that tremendous study of Indian life in this continent. And
I ask that you inform yourselves in your local lodge and make your celebration and your adoption of interest in Indian lore
and its history on deep foundations.
That will be highly
Now I have one other
area which I would like to see us give primary attention.
When we started the
Order of the Arrow, we stressed the fact that the Order was directed particularly at the individual Arrowman himself.
What do I mean by
Well one time at one
of these conferences, probably twenty years ago, when I made this part of the . . . my part in the program of that conference as we closed the conference, to pick out
a single Arrowman sitting down in the audience there. I asked him to rise and
what I said to everybody else, I directed particularly at him.
Because, the Order
from the very start, felt that they were dealing not with a mass of youth in America, but with individual persons.
Happily in the last
few years there has arisen in our midst an emphasis upon that very thing.
There are those among
us who feel that we are . . . to make
every effort in the induction of a new member into our Order in the Ordeal Ceremony, so that that very experience in his life
is one that he will never forget. I think we are beginning to make headway in
that. But let us in the months immediately ahead emphasize the fact that the
Order of the Arrow is a collection of individual Arrowmen, in-the-making, or old-timers; and that what we do must be of such
quality as to grasp their imagination and make their life different because of that fact.
And so I was so happy
to learn that there are now prepared as a result of this conference a group of about 160 of our number here who are prepared
to go into the various sections of our country and help in the lifting of the standard of the Ordeal Ceremony. So that as a new member comes into our Order he goes through an experience that
he will never forget. It will abide with him and make the Order ever after that
a meaningful thing in his life.
Now I could talk a
lot more about that, but I am pressed by time and I am about to say good-bye to you, because I . . . hesitate in saying good-bye. It’s been such a great thing to be together with you all.
How I wish I could
have been closer to each one of you.
Could have shaken
your hand with pressure. Could have signed your sash, if I didn’t. And so on and so forth.
Let me then as I close
my few little remarks here go back to a favorite song through the early years of our Order.
I love music. I was so glad that the brotherhood band and the great chorus were as good as ever
in our program this year. And so I bring my closing remarks to you in the form
of a song that most of you know.
I’m not going
to sing it for you because that might drive you out.
But I’m, I’m
going to use the words of the three verses on which I hang my final adieu to you.
This is the message
of the Happy Wanderer.
And you remember the
first verse. It’s the message of the knapsack. And it goes like this:
love to go a-wandering,
along the mountain track
And as I go I love to sing,
my knapsack on my back. . .
I had a very dear
friend in the earlier years of my Scouting career. He was the head of the Boy
Scout movement in the neighboring country of Canada, John Stiles. A wonderful
man. Frequently he would come to our groups in this country and speak to us.
He often stressed
the fact that the knapsack had a great part to play in the life of the good Scout.
Because what we put
in our knapsack for life is extremely important. If you put into your knapsack
not only the things for good camping, but in that knapsack put the ingredients of a useful and worthwhile life, then you’ll
That’s the kind
of knapsack I would have for each of you, into which now, in these formative years when you’re finishing your college
work, drawing into your line of specialty whether it be in the field of education or any other field; so that your life hereafter
may be one of importance, not only to you and your family, but to your community and the country you serve.
The song of the knapsack.
Verse number two is
the message of the green-wood tree. You remember?
“I wave my hat to all I meet,
they wave back to me
And black birds call so loud and sweet
from every green-wood tree.”
Way back then, I told
the story of what happened to a great tree on the pacific coast of our country where they were paying particular attention
to the study of the trees in a certain section. And they came to a tree 2,000 years old.
They counted, scientifically, the ring for each year on that tree. And
in examining scientifically each ring of the great old pine tree, they read the history of the country in that section of
the USA. All they had to do was find what happened at different stages of the
growth of that tree, and they began to have the history of that section of our country.
The trees of our country
are symbolic of the . . . of Mother
Nature which we of the Order, as good campers, as good Scouts, love.
So happy we are that
we can be agents of preserving nature in her best in the life that lies before us. And
we’ve been at that for some time and we’re going to keep at it, I know.
In building for the future.
And that final verse. I always loved it:
may I go a-wandering,
until the day I die
may I always laugh and sing,
beneath God’s . . . clear . . . blue . . . sky.
God’s . . . clear . . . blue
. . . sky.
My what we have found
in the last twenty years about that clear, blue sky of God’s.
We know that there
are hundreds of . . . solar systems
in that clear, blue sky. Hundreds of amazing discoveries in the whole field of
that the God who made them all is himself infinite.
And that infinity,
dear brothers, extends not outward to the reaches of that clear blue sky, and there’s no boundary to that, but also
inward, to the heart of each human being, if we’re used.
So as we go forward
in the building of the foundations for the future, let Him, the God of that clear blue sky, help you out and your life will
be exceedingly fruitful.
May God bless you
all in the years that lie ahead.
My heart will be with