The Peak of Scouting

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

“Mr. Grove, you can come back in the room now.” Wiping pints of sweat off my forehead, my heart racing, I reenter the room containing four people: the four people whose sole job is to challenge everything I have done for the past six years. Maybe I will pass. Maybe I will not.

Let’s go back about forty-five minutes in time to the same room.

“Max, good to see you here! You have worked very hard to get to this point!” I shake hands with everybody and we sit down.

At this point, I already felt as though I had sprinted a mile. Six years of working in Boy Scouts brought me to this peak: the Eagle Scout Board of Review. The Board of Review is a chance to look back on your Scouting path and for the National Scout Committee to see if you truly fulfilled all of the requirements for the Eagle rank. I hand my Advancement Chairman all the necessary paperwork. Seemingly simple questions are then asked of me: how did you demonstrate leadership, what do our oath and law mean to you, and what is your favorite Scouting memory? I answer them all honestly in the heat of the moment. I tell them that I served as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, Senior Patrol Leader, Guide, and just smiled the whole time. I speak about my leadership role as Senior Patrol Leader, effectively the president of the youth in the troop, and as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, serving as a liaison to the Troop adult committee. I speak about how these positions helped lead me on my path to adulthood.

We discussed how the Scout Oath and the Law are my life, ingrained into my brain. These elements of Scouting provide a set of actions to follow in order to lead your life with honor, hard work, and initiative. I tell them about my Eagle project, which involved leading a group to create two bat houses and a traffic control gate for a church camp.

The final question causes my brain to stumble. My favorite Scouting memory was fairly recent: leading the Polar Bear plunge with the first year Scouts at 6:00 a.m. every morning this past summer at camp. Seeing younger, newer Scouts smiling and having a blast swimming and cavorting in the pool at sunrise made remember my early days. Seeing the grins spread on their faces as I handed them their Polar Bear badges instilled in me a feeling of complete bliss and happiness.

After this discussion, they ask me to leave the room.

When they asked me to reenter, I really couldn’t say that I remember hearing that I passed. All of a sudden, I was just shaking hands and saying, “thank you!” I personally think they put some laughing gas in the room, but more likely is that I was just extremely ecstatic that I was a confirmed Eagle Scout.

I worked for six years to become an Eagle Scout. Scouting was my childhood. I remember my first Pinewood Derby, where we made wood cars to race. I was so apprehensive and afraid to see if my car would win. Now, I have grown and see that Scouting is about the community and the work you do, not being anxious about a race. In Scouting, I have transitioned from a childhood into a way of leading my life as an adult.

I feel like a leader. I feel like a strong communicator. I feel like a science whiz from all those merit badges. I feel like I can survive alone, outside, in the cold. I feel the Scout Oath and Motto coursing through my veins. I am a man.

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