Guest Opinion: The journey to Eagle Scout
Ever since I was in first grade I have been a scout, starting as a Tiger, finishing my Cub Scout adventure with my Arrow of Light and moving into Boy Scouts. Now I am just steps away from the ultimate Boy Scout accomplishment, earning my coveted ...
Ever since I was in first grade I have been a scout, starting as a Tiger, finishing my Cub Scout adventure with my Arrow of Light and moving into Boy Scouts. Now I am just steps away from the ultimate Boy Scout accomplishment, earning my coveted Eagle Scout rank.
I can honestly say I have been working toward this rank since I was in first grade and put on my Tiger Cub uniform because for me this journey started then.
Becoming an Eagle Scout for me means as much as a high school athlete going to state or winning some prestigious award because for me this is the finish line at the end of a long journey and yet in many ways it's not the end of the journey, it's a fork in the path that has prepared me for the next trail.
The journey to Eagle Scout is not one every scout completes, in fact only 4 percent of scouts ever achieve the rank. It is not an easy path and it is one that I am proud to say I have walked.
My journey has benefited me, my family and my community.
In working toward this accomplishment I have been through some of rough camping experiences; I have slept in negative 12-degree temperatures, as well as the sweltering heat of a 98-degree summer night of northern Minnesota. These camping experiences have made me a better camper, because I know what to expect. Boy Scouts has taught me to be prepared for the cold nights of January and July's sticky, hot nights.
Boy Scouts has done more for me than just physical training and camping. I have been trained by some of the best programs a youth can experience. As a fifth-grader I developed a speech impediment making it hard for me to speak in front of crowds or even my own classmates. The public speaking aspect of several of the training courses the Boy Scouts has to offer helped me overcome this obstacle and I have now gone so far as to be on the staff teaching these very programs. Working toward Eagle has sharpened my leadership skills and abilities and made me a better person all around.
As a Boy Scout you are required to earn a number of merit badges, one of them is Family Life. My dad is an active adult leader in our community in my opinion. When I first started scouts this was not the case but he was asked to step up and volunteer. Since then he continues to go above and beyond the call of duty as a scout leader. He attends every camping trip his schedule will allow including our week-long summer camp. I don't know where I would be without my dad beside me the whole way. My mother has been my guiding arrow through my whole journey always making sure I had the right equipment for my camping trip. Even though she is not as active in the same ways as my dad she is still very important and plays an important role in my life as a scout. Then there's my sister, she has almost no idea what scouting is about but she is always at my courts of awards supporting me.
To obtain the rank of Eagle, a scout must accomplish a long list of tasks and duties, one of those tasks is a service project benefiting the community. For my Eagle project I built and placed 10 wood duck houses on a walking trail in south Brainerd. The Baxter Snowmobile Club funded my Eagle project. This is one example of an Eagle project. I have helped with and seen bridges built, landscaping, paver laying, stage building and many other projects done by Eagle Scouts. These projects benefited Camp Vanasek, the city of Brainerd, the city of Baxter, Northland Arboretum and many parks.
Becoming an Eagle Scout has been hard but the challenges I faced have taught me more than even I know at this point, it has made me a better man, brought me closer to my family, helped me to establish what I am sure will be life long friendships, helped me to learn that it is better to give than receive and learn cheerful service doesn't just benefit the person or place receiving your service but truly helps your soul.
Scouting has given me so much and I hope others will learn from my example, a scout is not just a kid in a uniform but a person who has proven themselves.
Zach Vogt, 17, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 43 in Brainerd and will complete his Eagle Board of Review in December, the final step in his journey to becoming an Eagle Scout.