Good things start at home

Published 9:43 am Thursday, May 31, 2012

Unlike the first Eagle Scout Ceremony I attended three years ago in Colerain, I was on time for Andre Bass’s ceremony as he became an Eagle Scout on Saturday. Bass’s achievement was historic and landmark, not just for Andre and his family, but Bertie County as well as he became the first African-American to earn that scouting rank.

With that fact aside, it is a significant accomplishment for Bass and any young man of any background who achieves Eagle Scout.

The Eagle Scout rank may be earned by a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who has been a Life Scout for at least six months, earns a minimum of 21 merit badges, demonstrates Scout Spirit, and demonstrates leadership in the troop. The scout must also plan, develop and lead a service project that shows both leadership and a commitment to duty. Participation in a Scoutmaster conference is also a requirement. After all prerequisites are met, he must then complete an Eagle Scout board of review.

When most often think of scouting, they think of the stereotypical camp trip into the woods and learning how to make fire out of dry grass and flint. However, most involved in scouting would agree it is much, much more.

Since 1910, Boy Scouts of America has provided young men an outlet for activities and offered them real life skills they can use. Leadership, coordinating projects, teamwork and philanthropic endeavors are just some of the abilities Boy Scouts learn.

Andre said scouting has brought a sense of responsibility into his life and has taught him to make wise decisions. And he encouraged youngsters to get involved in the program and utilize it to their advantage.

Andre obviously took full advantage of what scouts had to offer, but he didn’t do it alone, something he fully acknowledges. He had two fantastic grandparents to back him up along the way and push him to do better.

The Basses have raised Andre since he was an infant and he credits his grandparents (whom he refers to as his parents) for much of his achievement.

“They were my main support, especially my grandfather, he pushed me along the way. He told me to never give up,” Andre said in the interview. “(They’re) wonderful, I can’t even explain my parents, they’re outstanding, they’re motivators, they always strive for the best, and I’m going to continue to be the best that I can be.”

If you ever wonder about the importance and significance of good parenting, take a look at Andre Bass. He had grandparents who stood strong behind him and urged him to achieve his goals. They involved themselves in his life. That in general is just good, sound parenting more children should be so lucky to have. And when you think about it, it’s as easy as supporting whatever dream your child may have.

Andre has benefited from a good upbringing; the Basses have found reward in their own work raising Andre and now the community is benefiting from a successful and aspiring young man.

It’s not a hard formula when you think about it. All good things start at home.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.