1. Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
3. Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
This will influence how I write my conclusion, so help would be greatly appreciated. Also, this needs to be a lot shorter, but I am not sure where I can shorten it. All help is greatly appreciated!
This past summer I was on the staff of the local National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) through Boy Scouts. I had gone through the program myself and had found the experience not only incredibly helpful in developing leadership skills, but also a very fun way to spend your week. So when I got invited back to join the staff, I immediately accepted. I had no idea how much more I would learn as a member of the staff than I did as a participant.
My job as a staff member was to serve as a guide for a group of eight boys who would be working together throughout the week. I spent the next six months going to training sessions and preparing for the week. One month before the program there was an opportunity for me to meet all of the scouts that I would be guiding. They were a great bunch of kids, but one seemed to come out too me as a potential leader. His name was Dakota. I had never heard of the troop he was from, nor had I any idea of his background, but from that first day all of the other scouts seemed to let him lead them throughout the activities. That day made me even more excited for NYLT since I was going to have a great patrol to guide.
After what seemed like an eternity, it was finally the first day of program, and everyone arrived on time. The first day was all about learning the ropes and doing activities to pick out a leader. Of course Dakota flourished in the activities, but there was something else that happened that day. During the presentation on how to keep your site clean, Dakota wasn't there. After walking up the trail a little bit, I found him by the latrine. When I questioned him where he went, he simply responded "I don't know" and grinned. Then he went back to the presentation site. I didn't really think anything of it at that moment, and returned with him.
That night the patrol elected him unanimously as their leader. He gladly accepted the role. That night he again disappeared. When he got back to the site we had the same conversation
"Dakota, where did you go?" I asked him.
"I don't know" he replied, with that same grin on his face.
"Why didn't you tell anyone where you were going?" I questioned, a little more aggravated then I would have liked to have come off as.
"I don't know" he again replied.
"Don't do it again, okay?" I sighed.
Then he went into his tent and I went into mine, and I went to sleep. The next morning I went to wake everyone up, but Dakota was not in his tent. He was again down at the latrine, having "no idea" where he just was for the past 20 minutes. At this point, I knew something was up. I went and talked to a fellow guide about it. The guide advised that we hadn't really gotten started on anything yet, so he would disappear less when the program started. I decided to be more patient with him. Finally, it seemed like my patience paid off. He had volunteered to be the leader of the All Faith's Service. Though he didn't do the best job, it was clear the effort was there. I was suddenly optimistic about Dakota, until he started playing with his lighter inside the incredibly flammable tent.
At that point, I had lost all of my patience with Dakota. It was Wednesday and there was only two more days until all of the patrol leaders would get together and elect one of their own as a leader of the troop. Since Dakota had been the only one to step up this entire week, I was scared they would elect the disappearing pyromaniac who my patrol had elected. I brought this to the attention of the adult leader, Mr. Boyle. At that point he sat down the entire staff, which had either seen Dakota in inaction or had heard about him through the grapevine. He then proceeded to tell us about Dakota's situation. Dakota was currently serving time in the state juvenile detention facility for arson. The judge in charge of the case worked with Mr. Boyle, and thought he could reduce his sentence by allowing Dakota to participate in the program.
Everyone was completely silent. Although this was no excuse for his actions throughout the week, it made think back to all of the positive things that he had done, whether it was excelling on Sunday or leading the All Faith's Service. He really didn't have to do those things, and the fact that he put so much effort into them when most others in his position wouldn't, made me want to give him a second chance.
Dakota wouldn't let me regret it. He led the troop campfire when no one else would, and it was a huge success. He didn't disappear at all the next few days, and the patrol was the first one done with all of their meals. It was a complete turn-around from the first half of the week. Finally the patrol was working well again, and Dakota was leading them.
Finally, the day had arrived. The election I had been dreading all week. The results were almost exactly as I had predicted, except for one poorly written vote, which Mr. Boyle informed me was Dakota's because he had never learned to write all that well. The staff was then informed that it was up to us to decide if we go with the patrol leader's wishes. At first, almost everyone was in agreement that he shouldn't receive the honor because he had not earned it. I however, disagreed. I thought that he had made drastic improvements since the beginning of the week, and that being elected could really be something positive for him. Also, I thought, rather naively, that going against the wishes of the other patrol leaders was not scout like. I did my best to convince the staff that allowing the vote to stand was the best option.
I think you should make the beginning more hook-like, to grab the readers attention. Remember, these admissions people have been reading many, many essays already, all that are quite similar. Also, this should be more about you, since that is what you're trying to show the reader. Try to make your personality show through. Maybe try to condense the actual story/background, and talk more about what you were thinking/the significance of your actions.