When a Scouter dies, what’s the appropriate way to honor their Scouting legacy?
Two years ago, Frank Perman was pondering that very question while attending Wood Badge at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.
While there, he met Silver Buffalo Award recipient Russell Smart, who encouraged Perman to consider turning that question into a Wood Badge ticket item — one of five acts of service to Scouting that Wood Badge participants must complete to earn their beads.
Smart told Perman that he’d attended Scouters’ memorial services that were poorly planned — not because the well-meaning organizers didn’t try but because they lacked guidance.
After their discussion, Perman recognized he was the right person to create this guidance. He’d call it the Memorial Service Guide for Scouters.
Perman is a Silver Beaver Award recipient, father of three Scouts (an Eagle Scout son, First Class daughter and Second Class son), and husband of a den leader.
On top of that, his day job is as a licensed funeral director. He owns and operates Perman Funeral Home and Cremation Services located near Pittsburgh, Pa.
Like many volunteers, Perman found opportunity at the intersection of his professional skills and Scouting passion.
“I wrote the Memorial Service Guide intending to profess respect, honor and reverence to the memory of the deceased while steeped in the ideals of Scouting,” Perman says.
It should be noted that the BSA does not have an official memorial service resource. So this guide should be treated as unofficial. Still, this blog has always been about fostering community and helping connect Scouters to resources that may help them fulfill their volunteer roles.
Perman’s Memorial Service Guide fits that bill.
Creating the guide
The original idea for the guide came from Denny Haramic, former Scoutmaster of Troop 173.
Haramic suggested that a respectful guide would help grieving Scouters show reverence and honor to a Scout or Scouter who has died. Haramic became Perman’s Wood Badge ticket editor, helping support Perman each step of the way.
To create the guide itself, Perman spent weeks researching the funeral traditions of various religions.
Naturally, Perman’s experience of more than 30 years as a licensed funeral director and almost 20 years as a Scout volunteer served him well.
“I read prayers and poems. I reviewed Scout songs,” he says. “This guide was reviewed by numerous people inside and outside of Scouting for clarity, ease of use, respect to the person who died, their family and friends as well as different funeral traditions.”
Download the guide
The 24-page Memorial Service Guide includes a suggested order of service, prayers from different faiths, eulogy ideas, songs and more.
You can download it here. Depending on your browser settings, clicking the link will download the Word document.