Lessons Learned as a Boy Scout

January 23, 2008

Me As A Boy Scout Many years ago, I joined Boy Scout Troop 241 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  It was one of the most rewarding and difficult experiences of my life.  Finally, I achieved the highest Boy Scout honor, that of becoming an Eagle Scout.  It took a lot of hard work and determination.

My time in the Scouts, however, had a great effect on my life.  You know, back then, over sixty years ago, scouting was different from what it is today.  I was a city kid and I was working on my merit badges and I had no place to camp out.  So, to get camping merit badge, I had to sleep out 50 nights.  Where was I going to do that?  Well, my folks helped me buy a tent and I put it in the backyard and out of my fifty nights, I think forty of them were backyard nights.  But I slept out and I was able to qualify for that merit badge.

Back then, too, we had to see forty different birds.  I can't tell you how many bird walks I went on around Washington, D.C. to try to spot all those birds, but I finally got my forty.

The toughest part, however, comes back to camping merit badge when I had to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together.  I had to create a spark from those two sticks and then put a little tinder, blow on it and get the fire started.  Well I worked and worked and worked in front of my counselor on those two sticks and almost passed out - finally getting that little spark going and blowing it into that pile of tinder and getting the fire started.  That was probably the single most difficult part of being a scout - camping merit badge.

Scouts are still a great part of my life.  All three of my sons have become Eagle Scouts, as has my son-in-law and five of my grandsons so far.  I have a lot of fond memories of my time in scouting and seeing my sons and grandsons grow up in scouting is a great thrill.

Boy Scouts are very important to me.  I want other boys to get the most out of scouting and enjoy their time learning many of the same lessons I did.  That's why we established Camp Marriott in Goshen, Virginia.  Scouts go there to camp and participate in many other outdoor activities to earn their merit badges.

It's not just the boys in our family that are active in the Scouts.  Three of my granddaughters were Girl Scouts.  Our company also actively supports the Girl Scouts.  Partnering with the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation's Capital here in Washington, D.C. we have created a program to help prepare a diverse group of these young girls for careers in the hospitality industry.  In fact, we are going to be hosting a career day we are calling the "Hospitality Hotshots" for Cadet-level Girl Scouts in the Washington, D.C. area very soon.

I'm always excited to have former Scouts come work for Marriott because I know the lessons they've learned from scouting, such as leadership and teamwork, will make them great employees for our company.

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Lessons Learned as a Boy Scout


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Mr. Marriott,
Thank you for your timeless, inspiring words, as we continue to reach out to all of the youth in Washington DC to provide more opportunities for Scouting!
Dan Mullin
Washington DC District Director
National Capital Area Council,
Boy Scouts of America

Thank you for your blog, it was wonderful story. My dad, my son and me, we all are Scouts. Thank you very much.
Your in Scouting,
Chuan

As a proud Eagle Scout one of my fondest memories as a Boy Scout was serving as part of the color guard for the opening of Marriott's Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, California in 1976. As a teenager it was a thrill to watch JW Marriott (and Bugs Bunny) slowly pull a lever and watch the theme park come to life, it's a thrill I will never forget!

I just found this blog entry today and it was wonderful reading how your time in Scouting has influenced your life and now the lives of thousands of Scouts at Goshen. I was a Girl Scout who made First Class (highest rank back then) with my Dad a Scoutmaster for Troop 414 in NCAC. He received the Silver Beaver and I think he was prouder of this honor than anything else in his life! My mom also received the Silver Fawn which isn't awarded anymore. Obviously, when our son was born I joined BSA with him and even earned the 50 Miler right along with him canoeing in Maine. He wrote one of his college admission essays about that Maine 'ordeal' and how it spurred him on to achieve his Eagle. Even though he is now almost 25 I still go to Camp Bowman with his troop almost every year; it is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Thank you for all you have given back to Boy Scouting!

Hi,
I counselled at Marriott for two years as a teen. It was a critical experience in my life. It taught me hard work and cameraderie that prepared me for a military career spanning three services. The Scouts, and Marriott in particular, have been a great service to me and many of my peers. Thank you.

As a 20 year old Eagle Scout my project continues to help SaveTheSaltFlats.com alerting fellow scouts that by visiting or sending an email will help save the Bonneville Salt Flats, unique to the world, for future generations. BLM will recognize your support, because Bonneville is in a "use it or lose it" situation! Your support will allow Bonneville time to do for green fuels what it did for the petroleum industry. Sincerely, Brent Singleton, an inspired relative of Bill Marriott and Bonneville's Alternative Fuel Event Coordinator (www.saltflats.com) Please Google "Quadbrid"

Thank you. That was lovely to read. I became a First Class Girl Scout (it was the Girl Scout equivalent of the Eagle back then) when I was growing up as the daughter of a single parent.
I wanted my son to have the same experiences in the out-of doors as I had been given, so I signed him up for Scouts as soon as he was old enough to join.
Then, I was given the opportunity to be his Den Leader when he became a Webelos. I took it and it was so wonderful that I just kept moving up with him. I am now an Assistant District Commissioner and I think I have gotten as much or more out of the program in the role of an adult leader as my son has gotten as a Scout. He's Life and on his way to Eagle.
Thank you for your support of the Scouting program.

Nice Blog!

It is an honor to be among so many great men posting here. I too am an Eagle Scout (1985). It was always a lifelong dream to be active in Boy Scouts later in life, when I had children. Well that dream was almost a reality, but I now have 3 beautiful girls, so I am leading my oldest daughters Girl Scout troop and am camp director for our local day camp program. Thank you to Mr. Marriott for his contributions to both Boy and Girl Scouting in America.

News of this blog entry is making it's way through the Scouting community. I know that your story is an inspiration to the men and women who serve our youth in the Boy Scouts of America. I know many men who attribute their success in life to the values they were taught in Scouting. As a fellow Eagle, I wish you well as you continue in your duty to God, country and others

Dear Bill,
Congratulations on becoming an Eagle Scout. You were a handsome Boy Scout. I read recently that less than 4% of boys that join Boy Scouts ever attain the rank of Eagle. That says something about you--an Eagle Scout. Part of the fabric of your success today is that you were a great Boy Scout in your youth.
I, too, was an Eagle Scout many years ago. Today I wear a small Eagle Scout pin in my suit lapel--I received it when I sat in an Eagles Nest in the American Embassy in Brussels, Belgium in 2000. There were five American Boy Scouts living in Europe who received their awards that evening. I was proud to be able to sit with them.
Keep up the excellent work. We love the Spirit of Marriott that comes from you and from your associates.
Ray Hart, Idaho Fall, Idaho

I have been involved in scouting for over 30 years. I have achieved the rank of eagle scout 1980. My current troop has allowed me to have the honnor of being Scout Master for 25 scouts. I was allways reminded in the past for what others have done to make the scouting program so great for what is is today. I my self have called upon other Eagle Scouts that I know of to help with programs that they were part of one time, and they never refused. It's a great feeling to see a scout succeed, and with your involvment in the Scouting program many boy's will achieve that highest rank. Eagle Scout

I have always been a firm believer in the scouting program and after a lull long after earning my Eagle, I have rediscovered scouting with my two sons. I truly enjoy all of the great fun my sons are having and I get to relive some of my fondest memories again. Just wish I hadn't waited so long to have boys...

It's always a pleasure when you read about someone who does something nice for the community. Founding a Boy Scout camp in today's troubled world is an utterly marvelous act. My brother and I are both Eagle Scouts, and I don't think either one of us would trade our years in Scouting for a knapsack full of gold - so many fine memories, and so many life lessons learned. Scouting builds character, without question.
Many thanks Mr. Marriott - the Scouts can always use a good friend like you.
Sincerely, Rob Kasbohm

Thanks for that entry. As a Cub Scout mom and popcorn fundraising manager for our pack, I appreciate your sponsorship of Camp Marriott at Goshen. I know the boys look forward to camping there, and it's a highlight of their scouting experience.

I am glad to see that this organization has produced a fine business man like yourself. Who has not forgotten about others and started your own camp. I also would like to start my own troop. I like you also grew up in the city and as a scout it was very dificult to acheive eagle status. I got close but they closed the program before I could complete it.I am currently looking to start my own troop and hopefully give some young innercity youth (like myself) a chance to expercience the joy of scoutong. Please keep me in your prayers and I will also be praying for you. God bless you!!!

I've returned to Scouting (Eagle '79) as a leader in the last few years as my son has reached that age. I enjoyed Mr. Marriott's post and also enjoyed reading his story in Alvin Townley's book Legacy of Honor. People can say what they want but 100 years of history and success in working with boys stands on its own accord. The stories of the men who remember their scouting days is testiment enough to the value of the program. Thank you for sharing your story.

THANK YOU so much for being a role model to youth and to the world. Your devotion to excellence in your personal life is evident in your company.
I've been a fan of your company ever since my first stay at a Marriott hotel as a youth in Springfield, MA and the subsequent reading of the book I found in my room on the The J. W. Marriott Story. Marriott is my preferred choice always!

Bill, as an Eagle Scout myself I echo the feelings and beliefs that you expressed in this entry. However, I am now seeing things from a different perspective as my eldest son is crossing over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts in just a few weeks. He has one goal that he has expressed, to be like his Dad and become an Eagle Scout, too. Although it is a is still difficult to achieve, and I will b proud either way, if that were to happen, that will be my proudest moment as a parent.

I really enjoyed your story and finding your blog. I was fortunate to have been a Marriott employee for over 27 years, having started right out of school. So many lessons learned from the Marriott family and the culture continues to thrive. I am still your ambassador for hotel sales!

Proud Parent of 2 Eagle Scouts and I gladly consider Marriott a preferred vendor.
THANKS BILL!

I really enjoyed Mr. Mariott's story. My older son just earned his Eagle rank and my younger son is working on his community service project, so he is nearing completion of his Eagle requirements. The scouting program has been extremely rewarding - there is no other program like it for young men. Then as now, Scouting helps to build character and help boys grow to become contributing, ethical and energetic citizens. Thank you for the uplifting story and of course love the picture!