Andrew K. (age 17)
One of the biggest treasures, and one not very well known, is the Boy Scouts of America, or BSA. You may have heard about it, maybe through people at work, Facebook posts, tweets on Twitter, or even pictures on Pinterest. But do you know what the Boy Scouts of America is, or what it offers? And what exactly is an Eagle Scout anyways? Well, I’m here to write to you about them, and shed a little light on the subject.
To understand the end, you first have to understand the beginning. The Boy Scouts of America started in 1910, when William D. Boyce, an American business man, was walking through London in a thick fog in 1909 when a young boy, a Boy Scout, came to his help. Boyce, being very impressed with this, talked to Lord Baden-Powell, who was the leader of the Boy Scouts in London. When he returned to America, Boyce was set on starting the Boy Scouts in America, and founded them on February 8, 1910. In 1911, they decided that they needed to add more ranks to the list, and soon 3 more ranks joined the party, and they complete the list as it now stands today; Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout.
A Boy Scouts purpose is to complete various requirements that not only better him as a person, but also better many other skills as well. From knot tying to first aid and from cooking to fusing rope, a Boy Scout has to complete 5 ranks and a total of 21 merit badges before he can become an Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout is the highest award a Boy Scout can get, and only 1 in 200 kids ever get it. When a Scout completes the final rank of Eagle, he has grown from a small boy into a young man. To prove himself of being an Eagle, the Boy Scout has to plan, organize, lead, and execute a service project that betters an organization of their choice.
I currently hold the rank of Eagle Scout, and my project benefited Sarah Heinz House’s Resident Camp. I chose Heinz House because over the past 6 years, they have taught me a lot about leadership and civic responsibility (volunteering), and I decided that I needed to give something back to them as a thank you for everything they’ve done. For my project, I decided to build a deck on the back of the Arts and Crafts building that the kids use at the camp. After all was said and done, it took a total of 8 months of planning, over 20 volunteers, and over 250 man hours total in both the planning and the building of the deck. I had to plan the project and lead the volunteers to make this project happen.
The leadership and skill required to execute this project (or any Eagle project for that matter) is extraordinarily high. That is why I am proud to be able to call myself an Eagle Scout, because it has taught me how to be a better leader, and a better man. And because of the leadership skills taught to an Eagle Scout, that is why people look at Eagle Scout’s in an admiring way, because we are in fact like eagles ourselves. We soar high above world, standing out in the crowd, and like the bald eagle, we are rare to find and amazing to watch.