Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. (650 word limit)
The room was quiet, the only sound was the clock in the corner ticking second by second. I stood at attention in front of a panel of five emotionless men who arrived at a unanimous decision that would change my life forever. In one instant my identity changed from being an average high school student to being an honorably recognized member of the National Eagle Scout Association.
Throughout my life I have been involved with a multitude of extracurricular activities, including competitive sports, school clubs, and church groups. The activity that has transformed me the most and that I have become the most passionate about is my involvement with the Boy Scouts of America. I began Scouting in the first grade, and 11 years later, on December 27, 2012, I was awarded with the rank of Eagle Scout, marking the pinnacle of my Scouting career and the most prestigious achievement in my life thus-far.
When the District Advisor of the Eagle Scout Board of Review told me that they had decided that I had accomplished all requirements of the Eagle Scout rank with "flying colors," I felt a strange feeling. I wasn't relieved, surprised, or excited. It was then that I realized that the rank and title of Eagle Scout meant far less to me than the path that I took to get there.
That night I went home and as I lay in bed I remembered learning how to smooth a block of wood with sandpaper during my first attempt to make a soapbox car for the Pinewood Derby. I remembered undercooking the hamburgers that I was in charge of making for my meal group on my new scout camping trip. I reminded myself about how my patrol leader lead the entire troop through a grove of poison oak as we were learning how to identify plants and animals. I heard what the other kids at school would say, and how they would laugh when they found out that I was in Boy Scouts. These are the moments that matter to me. This is what helped me gain knowledge, patience, and maturity.
I remembered the stress of directing younger scouts during my Eagle Scout Project. I relived the restless night before pouring a cubic yard of cement, second guessing my measurements, concerned that one yard wouldn't be sufficient. I recalled instructing young scouts, just beginning their own path to Eagle, how to correctly hold a hammer so that they wouldn't bend any nails or hurt themselves. I remembered presenting the finished tool shed to the Fair Oaks Community Garden, and how they were relieved to know that they finally had a safe place to store their supplies so that they wouldn't get stolen during the night. It was this project, and times like it, which evoked every ounce of my patience, experience, and leadership capabilities, that transformed me into an Eagle Scout.
I realize now that my identity had been developed long before I stood in that quiet room in front of the panel of advisors. December 27 is the only tangible date that is able to mark the transformation I have experienced through the Boy Scouts of America. It is the date that changed my identity in the eyes of others forever. However, far more important than that one date are the experiences leading up to it. The years, the months, the days, the hours, and the minutes that I have spent Scouting are what have transformed me into the young-adult I am today. Although each individual experience on its own only offers a single lesson that I have learned, the culmination of those experiences and lessons are what define who I am today. (618 words)
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