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This is based on the story, “Climbing the Mountain” by Ernest Thompson Seton.

Cubmaster: Tonight we have the honor of presenting the Arrow of Light Award to [number] members of this pack. But before I present these awards, let me take a moment to relate an appropriate story.

Afar in our dry southwestern country was an Indian village, behind which a high mountain towered above the desert. It was considered a great feat to climb this mountain, so all the young braves of the village were eager to attempt it.

One day, the chief said, “Now, boys, you may all go today and try to climb the mountain. Start right after breakfast, and go as far as you can. Then when you are tired, come back; but each of you must bring me a twig from the place where you turned.

Away they all went; full of hope, each feeling that he surely could reach the top. Soon the first boy came slowly back, puffing and sweating. He stood before the chief, and in his hand he held a piece of cactus. The chief smiled and said, “My boy, you barely got started.”

You did not reach the mountain; you did not even cross the desert. I like to think this boy is like a newly inducted Cub Scout; he has just barely started.

An hour later the second boy returned. He carried a twig of sagebrush.

“Well” said the chief, “you reached the foot of the mountain, but you did not start the climb.” This boy is like the Cub Scout who has earned his Bobcat badge; he has progressed on his journey but has not really started his climb.

After another hour, the third boy came back. He held out a cottonwood spray. “Good” said the chief, “you got as far as the springs.” This might represent the Cub Scout who has reached the first level of his climb and received his Wolf badge.

A while later, another boy came back with some cedar. The chief smiled when he saw it, and spoke, “Well done, my boy, you went halfway up.” This is like the Cub Scout who has progressed halfway up the advancement trail and earned his Bear badge.

Later in the afternoon, the next boy returned carrying a branch of pine.  To him the chief said, “Good, you went to the third level. You made three - quarters of the climb. Keep on trying. Next year you will undoubtedly reach the top.” The Cub Scout who has earned his WEBELOS badge has reached the three-quarter mark and is in sight of the top.”

The sun was low when the last boy returned. He was a tall, splendid boy of noble character. He approached the chief and held up his hand. It was empty. But he was radiant as he spoke. “My father, there were no trees where I went. I saw no twigs, no living thing upon the peak. But far and away I saw other mountain peaks, and beyond them the shining sea.”  Now the old chiefs face glowed as he said, “I knew it! I knew it when I looked upon your face. You have reached the top. It is written in your eyes and it rings in your voice. My boy, you need no twigs for token, you have seen the glory of the mountain.”

The brave who reached the top is like the Cub Scout who has reached the top - the Arrow of Light Award. But, beyond the top are the peaks of the Boy Scouting program that must be met and climbed to reach the shining sea of adulthood. I would like now to call forward [names) and present them their Arrow of Light Award.