Vespers is a secular service held at camp every Sunday morning during the summer. Each week, one member of the Agawam community is invited to deliver reflections on a relevant theme. These talks typically reinforce Agawam’s core values, such as leadership, friendship, and honesty. The much-loved ritual of Vespers talks is extended during Agawam reunions, with alumni thinking back on their time at Agawam. At the 100th Agawam reunion, former counselor/volunteer “Scout” Bosco Li (staff ’04, ’05, ’13, ’19; volunteer ’06, ’07, ’10, ’17) offered his reflections on the Woodcraft Law of Truth.

Good morning everyone, I’m Scout, and as Chief said I have been RT activity head this year. When I sat down to do this brief talk about the lamp of truth, I was slightly flummoxed as to where to begin. I mean, what exactly is truth?

The definition of truth is generally accepted as being in accordance with reality. So, by that definition, up until the ancient Greeks it would have been true to say that the earth was flat, this being the accepted reality at the time.

So, I concluded the only truth about truth is that nobody really knows what it is. What we consider to be true is really only that which we believe it to be, and therefore, in many ways we each have our own versions of the truth.

That being said, we therefore have an implied duty to scrutinise our facts accurately, and furthermore there is an assumed authenticity and integrity in communicating the information to others. This has always been beautifully reflected in the first 2 rays: word of honour is sacred; play fair foul play is treachery.

The third ray sheds light upon a much more subtle and arguably more important aspect of truth. Be reverent. Worship the great spirit and respect all worship of him by others. At a cursory glance, this always seemed like a line that conveniently slotted in here having no other home of its own and I have always wondered how this related to truth, but in understanding that we each have our own truths, it becomes clear that respect and tolerance of the truths of others is key – particularly in such a fractious, far reaching and influential technological age.

The central guiding principles for the Agawam community are embodied by the Woodcraft Laws, compiled by Ernest Thompson Seton in the early 1900s.

It is the culmination of these aspects, so succinctly summed up in the woodcraft laws, which we try so hard to truly embody, and which I believe to be integral to what makes Agawam such a strong community, as evidenced by everyone here today. May we all continue to uphold the values of this lamp which radiates harmony in such discordant times.