Gov. Perry Presents Boy Scouts with Land for Camp Tonkawa
Thank you, Carter [Smith, Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife], and thank you all for being here today on a special day for everyone affiliated with the Boy Scouts.
In the course of my life, I have joined many groups and been shaped by their values but none more so than the Boy Scouts of America.
Directly or indirectly, Scouting guided me to Texas A&M led me into the military taught me the value of public service and challenged me to dedicate my life to something important.
No other organization has salvaged more lives built more confidence or created more leaders than the Boy Scouts of America.
Like ripples in a pond, the good this organization does extends far beyond the lives of those directly involved with Scouting.
We all benefit from people like the folks at Texas Parks & Wildlife who work every day to protect our state's natural beauty and ensure its availability to subsequent generations.
Many of them developed their love of the outdoors in Scouting on the hiking trails, woods and meadows of places just like Camp Tonkawa.
As many of you may know, I'm not only a product of the Boy Scouts, I also a proud alumnus of Camp Tonkawa.
The days I spent here were some of the very best of my life camping out exploring the wilderness and discovering wildlife.
Walter [Overton], I also remember listening to plenty of your dad's old war stories around the campfire.
For big chunks of my childhood, life boiled down to two basic units times when I was at Camp Tonkawa, and times when I was thinking about going to Camp Tonkawa. Scouting trips to places like this showed a young farm kid that there was a whole wide world out there to explore while they gave me the confidence to explore it.
My experiences with the Scouts linger with me today but Scouting's effect on me is much more profound than a collection of cherished memories.
Scouting is the forge in which character is developed the sort of character that guides the lives of many leaders in our culture from Senators and CEOs to firefighters and soldiers.
That character is formed when a young man learns of his duty to community and to country and the need to contribute more than they might gain in return.
Something happens to a young person when they're earning merit badges, climbing the ranks and even attaining their Eagle.
A friend of mine from my Scouting days, Riley Couch, once told me that Camp Tonkawa brought one thing to mind: accomplishment.
At Tonkawa, we either rose to the challenge and succeeded or failed and tried again until we got it right.
That was an important lesson to be learned for everyone and it's even a more important lesson today.
In a world that celebrates "get rich quick", where just about any desire can be satisfied with a couple clicks of a mouse the opportunity to work hard in pursuit of a simple goal is actually a gift to a child and, ultimately, a benefit to our society.
Unfortunately, that gift is in increasingly short supply.
People who say today's children aren't willing to put in the work are pointing their fingers in the wrong direction.
Young people all across our state are achieving at high levels.
In Central Texas last year, more Scouts earned their Eagles than ever before.
Having walked through that process with my son, Griffin, I can tell you it is a huge challenge but so very worth it.
So, here in this place where so many lives have been shaped over the years, I can say with confidence that the spirit to excel is alive and well.
Our job is to provide young people the chance to try.
Few organizations offer that chance as well as Scouting does.
Scouting continues to challenge and inspire teach and lead the boys of America in unique and traditional ways and Texas is much better for it.
Texas has long reaped the benefits of the Boy Scouts in general and Camp Tonkawa in particular. Today, we are here to repay some of that debt.
After visiting Cape Tonkawa as tenants for almost a century it's time to make them permanent residents.
I'd like to ask Henry McGinty, who's done more than anyone to make Camp Tonkawa such a special place to come up here and accept this deed to the land.