Strength in Diversity: Grafenwoehr Eagle Scout sets his sights on leading peers
February 5, 2010
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - Adults are not the only one who strive to serve their communities. Cast your eyes upon newly inducted Eagle Scout, Patrick G. Vass, and you begin to understand age is nothing but a number. The life skills Vass learns as an Eagle Scout directly contributes to the success of the Army mission.
"I think I support my parents by trying to do my part in daily life, in school and at home alike; keeping up with my chores at home and my grades at school and being an active part in the community, and by helping each other in the family and the community," said Vass. "It doesn't always work out perfectly, but I always try my best."
In December 2009, Vass received his Eagle Scout rank, which symbolizes the effort it takes to achieve the rank. The Eagle Scout rank is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve. Although every Eagle Scout is a Boy Scout, not every Boy Scout reaches the distinction of Eagle Scout.
"It's quite a challenge to make Eagle Scout. Less than 4 percent of all Scouts make it to Eagle," said Lt. Col. Yancy Wood, the Army National Guard Advisor for the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, who also serves as the Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 303.
According to Wood, a boy scout must meet the criteria to earn 21 merit badges, spend at least 22 nights camping, and serve in numerous leadership positions. The pivotal event is the completion of the Eagle Scout project, which is a six month long process of organizing a community service project.
Every Boy Scout is taught to make ethical and moral choices, to help others, to stay physically strong, and to remain positive in the face of adversity. At the tender of age of 14, Vass, is a world traveler, an athlete, and a scholar-attributes that distinguish him from his peers.
"Every year we hold elections, and the boys chose Pat as their Senior Patrol Leader," said Wood. "In a boy-led Troop, he is the one they look to guide and organize everything we do."
Vass is the epitome of an Eagle Scout, volunteering his time to hone his skills as a future leader in the community. Vass says he enjoys the responsibility of being a role model.
When asked how the Boy Scouts will help prepare him for the future, he said, "It has taught me life and leadership skills, as well as a good work ethic. It has taught me how to be a reliable, trustworthy and helpful citizen."
Understanding the benefits of the program, Vass's parents encouraged their son to join the Boy Scouts of America at a young age.
"We started scouting in Georgia as a family affair with our oldest son Dennis. It offered great activities, crafts, camping/outdoor fun and sports with a great purpose, which was character development, good citizenship and community service all in a faith-based setting," said Mrs. Sonja Vass, Vass's mother. "As parents, especially when you're a young and inexperienced parent, you are expected to teach your children right from wrong, but most of the time you don't have the right tools and Scouting gave us fun and easy tools."
As a future historian or archaeologist, Vass will one day make his mark in the world. He can count on the skills he learned as a young Eagle Scout to point him in the right direction.
"I think he has great leadership skills. He can have fun with the boys and still be in charge and not lose their respect," his mother said. "I think that's something that can be difficult even for some adults. And that can be attributed entirely to his scouting experience."