When your grandfather’s an Eagle Scout, your dad’s an Eagle Scout, your uncle’s an Eagle Scout, and you’re male, it doesn’t take much guessing to figure out what award you’re expected to earn by the time you’re 18.
Such was the situation for Tim Ward, a third-generation Eagle Scout and National Eagle Scout Association exhibit staffer here at the 2017 National Jamboree. Ward, whose father Rob and uncle Steve are also staffing the exhibit, said there was a good deal of pressure to shape up to his family’s tradition.
“I have some really big shoes to fill,” Tim said. He’s the only Eagle Scout in his generation of the family; some cousins are female, while others tried Boy Scouts but gradually faded out of the program. He thinks the dynamic of a predominantly Eagle-composed family largely shaped his experience in Scouting, and the way he set goals.
During his Eagle service project, for example, Tim felt compelled to exceed expectations to prove his dedication. After Hurricane Irene devastated his local town hall, Tim decided to spruce up the replacement building, but “spruce up” turned out to be an understatement. He led the installation of a new plaza built around the town flagpole, an 80-inch flower bed and a new sign. All in all, the project cost over $3,500.
But Tim’s progenitors haven’t just influenced him; he’s influenced them, too. Rob and Steve both left Scouting for decades after earning their Eagles, but Tim gradually roped them back in by becoming a Cub Scout in first grade. Rob couldn’t make his first pack meeting, and his wife accidentally volunteered him to serve as Tiger Cub den leader.
“This is why they tell you, ‘never miss the first meeting,’” Tim joked.
Not only did Rob eventually rise to serve as Tim’s Cubmaster and then Scoutmaster for four years; he got his brother involved, too. Steve Ward, who hadn’t been involved in Scouting since the birth of his daughter, re-enlisted to volunteer in his nephew’s pack and maintained his involvement, eventually taking over Tim’s grandfather’s place as a staff member at the NESA exhibit this year. Steve said he’s glad Tim indirectly caused him to rejoin.
“I’ve learned getting Eagle isn’t the end of the road. It’s the beginning,” Steve said. “It’s your responsibility to use your training and your leadership to influence the next generation of Scouts.”
Steve attended the 1981 National Jamboree as a participant and staffed the1985 jamboree with his father. This year is his first time back since then. He said the great quality of people that attend Jamboree transcends time, and to have so many good people in one place will always be a special experience.
Rob, Steve, their father, and Tim said that such a profound Scouting connection sets their family apart. Combining the relationship of Scoutmaster to Scout and father to son throughout three generations has created a unique bond that keeps them firmly bound in not only brotherhood but family.