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A Scout's Experience

Boy Scout Troop 104
(Walled Lake, Michigan)
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A Scout's Experience

 My name is Zak Kellner and I'm writing this page for the Communications Merit Badge. I want to take this opportunity to share my experience with Scouting across my life.

I began scouting at its lowest rank, Tiger Scout. When I joined Cub Scouts all the way back in first grade, I was only 6 years old. I didn't really understand what I was getting into at the time. I just knew that I liked to be outside and go camping. I went to the Pack meetings and events and as I grew up eventually reached WEBLOS. I don't remember much of those years spent in Cub Scouts, they were so long ago. I only have a highlight reel in my head of a few important events: BB-Gun shooting at summer camp, winters at Lost Lake, Canoe trips down the river, Blue and Gold ceremonies. Cub Scouts was all about having fun; we rose up through the ranks just by getting older, the adults planned out all the activities for us.

When I crossed over into Boy Scouts, it was exciting and scary at the same time. I got t
o be one of the big boys, but I had to start from the bottom again. The rank advancement was intimidating. Rank depends solely on your own effort. At first I was intimidated, the older boys had their cliques and while they welcomed me, I was shy and it took a long time to feel open and at ease at troop meetings. There was a time when nearly all of the scouts that I crossed over with and knew from Cub Scouts were either gone or inactive. I wasn't enjoying myself like I had, but with lots of encouragement from my parents, I stuck through it. Now, I am so glad that I did. I have found wonderful friendships through scouts and being with the guys is one of the most enjoyable things in my life.

I love all the different activities that Boy Scouts offers. A simple weekend camp out can liven up my whole month. The weekly meetings are places to learn new things, plan new events and just hang out with the friends that I've made. But, the real cherry on top of the scouting sundae is high adventure. I have had the wonderful pleasure to have been to Philmont Scout Ranch twice with this troop. It is an amazing experience that will be with me forever and has become a cornerstone to my love of the outdoors. The challenge of the wild, especially the mountains, is something I hope to find again and again throughout my life. The challenge of Philmont isn't all about the terrain; the teamwork required to make it through the mountains is a challenge too. I was the Crew leader for our 2015 Trek and the leadership skills that I have learned in scouts served me well there, and will for many years to come.

I am amazed at the changes that I have gone through while in scouts. I have become an able leader and developed my people skills like public speaking, and that is on top of all the practical outdoor skills that I have accumulated. I feel proud to be a role model to the younger scouts in my troop. My younger cousin entered scouting because his parents saw the example I showed in my everyday life and wanted that for their son. That is what it means to live the Scout Oath and Law. He now repeatedly thanks me for the positive influence I have been on him. I owe a great deal of this strength of character to my time in scouting.

Now, I am nearing my time to leave the troop as my 18th birthday approaches. I'm finishing my work to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. And I look back at all that scouting has done for me and think, "Thank you."