A Tribute to John J. Hughes

​The Troop 25 family mourns the loss of Scoutmaster John J. Hughes.  
Mr. Hughes dedicated his entire adult life to Scouting. His example of integrity, humility and selfless service to others has influenced the lives of so many young men.  Troop 25 was blessed to share so many years with Mr. Hughes and will always be thankful for his enduring presence and wisdom. 

Mr. Hughes' farewell thoughts to his troop
June 7, 2017
Troop 25 Eagle Dinner

I thought I would take a page from Lord Baden Powell. He thought it important to address the World Brotherhood of Scouting while he was able. So he wrote a letter to his Scouts. The letter was not opened until 1941 after his death. He likened himself to Captain Hook in Peter Pan, who was so afraid that it would be too late to share his wisdom because of a ticking crocodile - that he was always lecturing his pirate gang.
So not knowing when I will next have the opportunity to address such a distinguished group of Scouts and Scouters and friends of Scouting, I am exercising my prerogative and giving my Scoutmaster’s minute…or minutes.
Some thoughts I would like to share, not only with our latest Eagles, but with all.

1. A scout is reverent.
I think of myself as a spiritual person. I am a Christian, a practicing Roman Catholic. But being reverent is not merely adhering to my path of worship. Being reverent means to respect the path that others have chosen for themselves hoping that all our paths can lead to the same enlightened end.
I also do not think that we are subject to preordained outcomes. I believe things happen randomly, by chance. As intelligent beings we have free will. Things happen. And we have the ability to react to them one way or another. Never think of yourselves as being the victims of some master plan over which we have no control. God does not root for one person over another, one team, one country. Things happen randomly by chance. We are often faced with random challenges, maybe the challenge of wet mossy rocks on the Appalachian Trail, or an unexpected rainstorm at camp, or an academic challenge, or a health challenge. God did not design that against us. I do not consider myself a victim. None of us should consider ourselves victims. We are not! Things happen. How can we cope? Be prepared. That is our Motto. Develop the skills to cope, develop the physical abilities, develop the moral fiber. Be prepared.

2. Scouting values count.
They are for real. Think of what a wonderful world it would be if everyone lived up to the Scout Oath and Law; the Motto and Slogan. Don’t just let them be words on your lips. Make them your moral compass. Live your life by doing good turns not because you want others to be good to you, but because it is the right thing to do.

3. A scout is friendly.
Look around the room at the other scouts who are here. Among them are the best friends you will ever have. Over the years, I can honestly say the best people that Margaret and I have met have been in Scouting. Friends for life. These are people that you want to sit around a campfire with. These are guys who you want to climb to the top of the mountain with. Never let them go.

4. and lastly…
My job as Scoutmaster is simple - to define. It is my responsibility to train Junior Leaders using the methods of Scouting. Scouting is the world’s best educational program. It is a leadership development program. But leadership development is happening at every level. We realized early on that the training goes both ways. The Scouts train the leaders as much as the leaders train the Scouts.

Plus, in Troop 25 the culture has made it easy. Junior Leaders don’t leave. They might take some time off…but, as you see, they come back to pay back, because they understand that that is where their responsibility lies.
So, over the years I was never fearful of our succession plan. Waiting in the wings were and are more then enough qualified Assistant Scoutmasters to get the job done. Men who have respected each other and every scout who entered the troop; men who believed in the values of scouting; men I am proud to call friends. I have always known that the time to move on would come, but have never worried. I was not sure when it would be but knew I would recognize it when it came. And it has come.

So I am honored to present to you my successor, chosen by his peers to continue the growth of this program to new levels, my friend Jan Egan.