Story by Kendall Jackson, Life Scout (future Eagle) and Venturing Crew President from Pathway to Adventure Council
Just like every other youth, I’m not attending school right now. For me, online learning is just a change in routine; however, for some, not going to school means losing one or two meals a day. Understanding there is a need, I currently volunteer to shop, along with other Scouting families, to stock my church’s food pantry (while maintaining all safety recommendations from the CDC). This ensures that youth in hard-to-serve areas do not have to miss any meals.
As a Scout, I want to be of service to others – lending a helping hand. Doing my part for my community keeps me connected to the world, while maintaining a safe distance. Right now, Scouting and my church help me feel connected, happy, and safe.
When my brother, Kenny, was a Scout, my mother was his Scoutmaster. Kenny is nine years older than me, and, at a young age, I was consistently described as his “shadow.” If he was in the dirt, I was in the dirt. If he was doing community service, I was by his side. Since I was always at meetings and outings, mom helped me learn how to be a Scout, too. Just as I learned the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes and the Twenty-Third Psalm for church, I learned the Scout Oath and Law.
After years of hard work, meetings, and camping trips, Kenny earned his Eagle in 2011. At his court of honor, I stood in front of the audience as a proud little sister – looking up at my giant brother, holding my Dad’s hand, seeing the pride in my Grandma’s eyes and thinking, we did it! Right then, I knew I really wanted to be an Eagle Scout. But how could that even be possible for me?
February 1, 2019, everything changed. First thing that morning, Mom and I drove to the Pathway to Adventure Council office. I held the paperwork for the new Scouts BSA Troop 53G so tightly in my hand, I almost smeared the ink. My mom was quiet as we walked in. As I submitted the paperwork, she started wiping her eyes. I didn’t understand at that moment why she was so emotional. I mean I was excited, but why the tears?
Now, I get it. I was no longer the “little sister.” I could now be a Scout! She knew I now had the same opportunities in Scouting as my brother did. I could learn to solve problems and work to come up with my own answers. She could see Scouting as a part of my future, and I could now experience all Scouting had offered my brother and so many other young men she had helped to guide during her 21 years of being a Scoutmaster – Discipline, Knowledge, Responsibility, and Opportunity.
Like many girls new to Scouts BSA, I am working to be among the first female Eagle Scouts. I’m 16 now, and nothing is going to get in my way –– not even social distancing requirements during a pandemic! I’m using video conferencing to work with my merit badge counselors and taking this extra time to plan my Eagle project. Our troops and crew also meet once a week through video conferencing. And, as President of Venturing Crew 53 and Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 53G, I will continue to help others reach their goals, as well.
I’m truly blessed because I can say Scouting has always been a part of my life. I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who knows how important Scouting can be for all youth, and I am so proud to call my mom one of them. She has not only been a volunteer for over 20 years, but she works every day at the Pathway to Adventure Council to help youth who are underserved to join Scouting, too. It has now been over a year since I became a founding member of Troop 53G and started my own path to Eagle. I am on my way!