When did you become interested in becoming a Boy Scout?
I started out as a Cub Scout in the fall of first grade when I was six years old. I mainly joined because a lot of other kids in my class were going to do it, but my mom also thought it would be a good character-building program that I could join. As a Cub Scout, we didn't do much in the way of achievements. It was mainly about having fun with friends.
What kept you interested and motivated to continue to work towards your Eagle Badge?
Earning my Eagle Badge never really became a goal until I crossed over from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts just before I turned 11. Once I became a Boy Scout, almost immediately I began hearing about older boys earning their Eagle Scout and having Eagle Scout ceremonies.That really piqued my interest. Earning Eagle Scout seemed so far away at the time, but it didn't feel that way for long. I was motivated because I only heard good things about it, and it seemed like something that could really set me up well for the future.
My favorite part about Boy Scouts is the endless leadership experience that you can get as part of the program. Currently, I am the Senior Patrol Leader for my Scout troop, which is the highest-ranking youth position that you can have in a troop. Before that, you can be an Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, or an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. There are also other positions of responsibility, like Scribe, Historian, or Librarian, where you can take a more important role in a troop while still working on your advancements.
Are there any special memories or stories you can share about this process?
When I became a Boy Scout, I saw that there were always a few Scouts in every group who didn't reach the rank of Eagle. Even then, a lot of Scouts waited until they were 17 or 18 to complete their Eagle Scout, since you couldn't earn Eagle Scout after you turned 18 unless you had a good reason for completing it after your 18th birthday. When my mom saw this, especially the stress that the parents were under to help their kids do last-minute requirements, she really prompted me to do it as early as possible so that neither one of us had to stress over completing things a week or so before I turned 18. I officially earned the rank two months after I turned 16, so that vision thankfully came to fruition.
How did you feel when you earned your Eagle Scout rank?
When I earned my Eagle Scout, it was truly a sigh of relief. I had my Board of Review (the ceremony where they look at what you've done and decide whether or not to award you the rank) postponed by two months due to COVID-19, but after the meeting was over and they gave me the good news, it was more than relieving to see the culmination of over five years of Scouting education.
What I found most special about this process was my Eagle Scout project. Every Scout who wants to become an Eagle has to plan and carry out a service project that benefits a non-profit in their community. I chose my home parish, Nativity of Mary Catholic Church in Bloomington, where I also went to grade school. My project was taking the youth room of the church (which wasn't being used as a youth room anymore) and helping transform it into an Atrium, a space used for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd which is an in-depth religious education program for young children. My project consisted of painting the room, repairing a hole in the wall, and then cleaning up and placing some Catholic artwork in the room. The catechist at Nativity then decorated it to fit the church's needs.
The reason that the project was so special is that it gives you a valuable opportunity to really show your community what you've learned as a Boy Scout and how you'll be ready to contribute to the community. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the dedication ceremony for the Atrium and I really can't put into words how amazing it was to see what that room was transformed into and how so many kids are going to learn lots about their faith, with me being a part of that experience.