Spirit of Adventure

Eagle Scouts and the Making of America's Future

Alvin Townley

Thomas Dunne Books

An extraordinary journey alongside America’s new generation of Eagle Scouts, who are discovering their purpose and bringing the values of Scouting to the world.


Over the past century, Scouts have helped to guide the course of American history. But what does Scouting and the Eagle badge mean to the Scouts of today? How will they shape the future of Scouting and America itself? In Spirit of Adventure, Scouting expert and Eagle Scout Alvin Townley finds the answer.

Townley traveled across the country and to the far corners of the globe to meet these young Eagle Scouts. He found them everywhere, continuing the life of adventure and service that they had begun in Scouting. He discovered them in Afghanistan providing medical care to villagers, in Australia saving coral reefs, at the Super Bowl and Olympic venues striving for victory, on desert cliffs and at inner-city schools teaching new lessons, in Africa bringing hope to children, and on the windswept deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz preparing for takeoff.

Whether doctors, activists, servicemen, entrepreneurs, or teachers, these young men are changing the world through bold actions that capture the essence of the Scouting tradition. In Spirit of Adventure, Townley answers important questions about the future of Scouting and America, while revealing stories of service, courage, and pure excitement that introduce our nation to an inspiring new generation of leaders. 


Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



Hours after American aircraft crossed into Iraq to begin the Second Gulf War, four gray Mark V jet boats skimmed across the Persian Gulf toward their target: the Mina- Al- Bakr Oil Terminal, a floating behemoth whose miles of twisting, metal piping carry a vast majority of Iraq’s total oil exports. Almost no other target had greater value and importance for the country’s future and well-being.


On board the Mark Vs, two platoons of elite Navy SEALs endured the constant jarring of waves and rechecked their gear. Their


Praise for Spirit of Adventure

Advance Praise for Spirit of Adventure:

“In his new book, Alvin Townley showcases the spirit of our young generation.  Like so many of us, these Eagle Scouts are out there pushing limits, exploring new possibilities, and serving other people.  Spirit of Adventure tells a compelling story about a new generation and America's future.”                     -- NFL quarterback Peyton Manning

Praise for Legacy of Honor:
"The stories captured in Legacy of Honor hold valuable lessons for our country as we face new challenges at home and abroad. These Eagle Scouts will inspire readers to become leaders in serving others." -- President Jimmy Carter
“Whether you choose to become a teacher, a police officer, a doctor, or even the mayor of the greatest city in the world, your experiences as an Eagle Scout will prove invaluable. Alvin Townley’s Legacy of Honor does justice to the proud history and bright future of the Eagle Scouts.” -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg
“Alvin Townley’s book describes how the Eagle Scout program can shape a life. He demonstrates this by providing examples of many former Eagles who have succeeded in life in no small part because of their experience in scouting. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.”--Senator Bill Bradley
"In Legacy of Honor, we not only learn who many of these Eagle Scouts were, but the kind of leaders they have become and the enormous contributions they have made to their country and the world. In compiling these life stories, Alvin Townley has completed a picture of an extraordinary program and how its training has helped shape equally extraordinary lives." --Hon. Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
“Alvin Townley’s book reveals the legacy of the Boy Scouts. He relates the adventures and deeds of Eagle Scouts living by the Scout Oath … while contributing to the success of America. An excellent story that will inspire all of us."--Captain James A. Lovell, commander of Apollo 13
“The unique leadership role in America over the past century of men who earned their Eagle Scout award as boys is unparalleled in business, the professions, politics, the military and national security. Legacy of Honor explores this extraordinary phenomenon of Eagles’ leadership through individual stories, both informative and inspirational.”
--Robert M. Gates, former CIA director and National Eagle Scout Association president
"Legacy of Honor will have a positive impact on the lives of millions of boys and their families. … If everyone in our country lives the principles of Scouting, the best years in our country’s history will be in the future."--Ross Perot
"Scouting and conservation share respect for the natural world, so it always seemed natural to me that many of our staff and volunteer leaders would be Eagle Scouts--this book provides wonderful insights into all that Scouting offers and how it helps develop tomorrow's leaders." -- Steve McCormick, President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy
“Commitment and devotion to the bedrock principles of our country -- optimism, fairness, determination and preparedness – are inseparably intertwined with Scouting. Alvin Townley does a superb job of portraying how Eagle Scouting helps shape these everyday yet incredibly powerful values that serve our families and society so well.”
--J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Alvin Townley

  • Alvin Townley is an Eagle Scout, graduate of Washington and Lee University, and author of the acclaimed Legacy of Honor. He has traveled thousands of miles across the country and around the world to explore the legacy of Scouting and capture stories of character, purpose, and adventure. He lives in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Alvin Townley
    Alvin Townley


Alvin Townley

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    Available Formats and Book Details

    Spirit of Adventure

    Eagle Scouts and the Making of America's Future

    Alvin Townley



    Thomas Dunne Books