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By Stuart Clark '20
When I started eighth grade, I had recently stopped playing squash and I had a lot of free time on my hands. One of my best friends had been talking about Boy Scouts and camping and it sounded really interesting to me. I had always loved the outdoors and now there seemed to be an opportunity to pursue that interest. There was a bit of a barrier because 14 is an old age to start in the BSA [Boy Scouts of America]. I decided to give it a chance despite my reservations, and I haven't looked back since. Ever since the first camp out, I've loved learning how to start a fire, pitch a tent, and cook great food in the woods. Becoming an Eagle Scout was a result of lots of time spent on Boy Scouts.
Before a person is eligible to become an Eagle Scout, they must earn the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, and Life. Each rank has multiple week and month time requirements, and requires mastery of many different outdoor skills, like cooking outdoors or pitching a tent. In addition to earning these ranks, a person must earn 21 merit badges, some taking several weeks to accomplish. Finally, a candidate for Eagle Scout must plan, organize, and execute a community service project, ideally one for a cause they are passionate about.
I chose to help ECLC [Education, Careers, and Lifelong Community], a school in Chatham for differently abled children, for my Eagle Scout community service project because I had volunteered there before, through Pingry's weekly trips to their daycare, and my family has had a history of helping there. I wanted to give back to a charity that I knew very well. When I visited the school to meet the staff and find out what they might need help with, the guidance counselor mentioned the need for improved fine-motor skills. To service this need, many volunteers and I constructed field day games, like cornhole and giant Jenga, for the students. We then took the games to the school and taught the kids how to play them over the course of three days during their gym classes. I learned a lot from the experience, mainly how rewarding having a personal impact on people can be.
I want to continue my Scouting career in the ASPL [Assistant Senior Patrol Leader] position of Citizenship and Community Service, teaching younger scouts the value of helping others.
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org