This was supposed to be short story type essay. Too long? It's been years since I have written an essay. How are Paragraphs. What do I need at conclusion. What should I title it? Do I have run on sentences, and how about punctuation? HELP, Please!!
Jake, a young and gawky boy dreams of getting his Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout and the National Eagle Scout Association’s colorful plastic wallet card, before the 8 year deadline expires to be eligible for the prestigious rank that is admired from a variety of applications to entering the Armed Forces a full rank ahead. Shortly after his 10th birthday he has his first ceremony in Scouts celebrating his achievements. Four months later, Jake has his second ceremony, his cross-over ceremony with Akela , transitioning from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts. He is hooked. Riddled with low self-esteem, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome and ADHD, along with the learning disabilities and social awkwardness that coincide with these disorders he starts out strong earning merit badges. At some times in his adolescence he works towards it, other times he forgets the dream. Unable to forgive himself for mistakes of the past, self created adversity finds it’s way into his young life again and again. Defiance in all areas exacerbated troubles with the law, drugs and alcohol, he spiraled out of control. Years turn into months, and then to days so fast, time is running out. Overwhelmed and feeling hopeless, with only a few days left before the deadline; Jake decides it’s not worth the hassle. Does the young man at the last possible moment, his 18th birthday, reclaim his dream, overcome his demons and soar like an eagle into adulthood? A bad attitude paired with adversity can make one pessimistic and bitter, want to crawl into a hole and die, give up one’s dreams, and stifle one’s growth, or adversity can propel the tenacious one into self-discovery and optimism, determined to overcome the obstacles and leave the valley of despair climbing to the summit of victory in any and all situations. Oft times what’s required is a shift in attitude and consciousness. Depending upon one’s attitude and their choices in handling physical and emotional challenges or misfortune and consequences, one can discover their inner values, desires and the strength and depth in their character that can overcome any odds.
It was a warm fall day in November 2004, in the city of Bountiful, Utah. A curly blonde haired, blue-eyed boy of a short and frail stature ran in the door dropped his backpack on the floor and said, “Bye Mom!” as he ran out of the house buttoning up his Cub Scout shirt. He had already experienced parents and step-parents with addictions, his mother gone for almost 2 years in jail and treatment, it was so nice to finally have a normalcy and he was so excited to go to Scouts and do cool things!
The following week was Pack Meeting and he was to receive the highest award in Cub Scouts, his Arrow of Light. So happy and at this point in his life still felt accepted by all. His Cubmaster, Brother Little, had presented a very special keepsake for him. It was a 2 feet by 2 feet hollow square frame he had made of wood with white tanned deer skin stretched across it and holes on the edge to lace around the wooden frame. Brother Little had glued on the large keepsake all of the little boy’s camp patches, badges, Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, 20 pins from 5 different categories of things mastered in Physical and Mental Skills, Community, Technology and Outdoor Activity. The Webelos Colors were to the left of the pins this little boy loved, Aquanaut, Artist, Engineer, Traveler, Family member, Craftsman, Fitness, Handyman, etc. They were so awesome they looked much like the activity they represented. He had never seen anything like them, let alone earned them! Brother Little had carefully removed all these things and placed them so neatly on this skin. His Compass Point emblem with their earned gold compass point pins, In the center were all of the gold and silver arrow point patches, along with his most recently earned badge, the Arrow of Light patch. The Progress Toward Ranks dangled at the bottom with its yellow and red beads. Laced along the top of the memento was an arrow Brother Little had painted with the Scout colors and written in black Sharpie the coinciding value. “Wow, was this thing cool!” he thought.
Four months later, it was time for another special ceremony for him! This time he was to cross over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. “This Scout stuff is exciting”, he thought. A man in a leather outfit wearing a full headdress addresses the group and the boy in a powerful and loud voice summoning the boy to the bridge. The fellow onlookers included the Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Webelos & leaders, fellow scouts, the boy’s mother, stepfather, brother, sister, father and stepmother and the Boy Scout Troop on the other side of the bridge awaiting the new scout. Family was beaming with pride as the nervous, shy little boy, stepped onto the bridge with his mother and father at his side. Already having problems with paying attention, words swirled through the air around the boy in bits and pieces. “Soon, when you become a Boy Scout, you will find that, while there are still many people willing to help, you take on more and more responsibility for blazing your own trail to Eagle.” He thought to himself, “I will be an Eagle Scout!”
At age 14, Jake’s Court of Honor for his Life Scout award was joined with his brother Matthew’s, Eagle Scout Court of Honor. He nervously conducted the Court of Honor, fulfilling his last requirement for his required Communications badge. He had actually earned more badges than his straight-laced, “perfect” brother. Jake was set to get his Eagle 1 month after turning 15. Earning merit badges, he felt some were fun, others, hard and boring. The thrill of Scouts was starting to diminish. Friends started changing, he started riding the motorcycle he had grown into that his brother was growing out of. Jake’s hyperactivity and love of revving up engines drove one neighbor, which would be best prescribed as mean spirited and trouble making. His friend gave him an old car for him to concentrate his summer time on. Suddenly there were many police interactions, which led to many underage driving without a license tickets. As the pressure of junior high, social faux pas, and other issues, a friend whom smoked pot got him high for the first time. His mother knew the minute she saw him. From then on trouble was double, suspensions, probations, DT and finally a program, which he flew through with no rule violations. Jake spent 15 months out of his home and out of Scouting. He came back home and went to early morning seminary with his brother, Matthew, every day at 6:30. Finally he was back on the right track. Only a few more merit badges to finish. All was well at home and school, he earned high honor roll and at 3.89 that year!
Jake’s 11th grade year started out well, even though he did not have his brother at school with him, he was home earning his higher EMT certification and preparing for a mission. It wasn’t long until Jake was complacent and again started smoking pot, skipping school, letting his grades and the GPA he was so proud of slip. All was heading towards an abyss fairly quickly. His mother threatened another program was surely on the horizon if he didn’t pull it together. Before the end of the second semester he had been suspended for bringing pot to school. He was to attend a District Meeting with a clean UA, a completed SASSI, (substance abuse rating scale.) Whew, he was back in school. Within a week, he had a fight with his stepfather and took alcohol to school, giving it to another friend also. He was pulled out of his AP Psychology and tested blowing a .09 on a Breathalyzer. He received another suspension and district meeting. Somehow he made it back into school again after a few weeks. Jake ended that school year without another suspension, however he was now on probation. However, the summer would prove to be trouble for this young man, he just couldn’t seem to make the right choices. Lying, smoking weed, sneaking out, drinking, stealing his parents cars and truck and taking them to the “B” a favorite 4 wheeling spot for auto’s, 4 wheelers and motorcycles. The plot thickens.
On house arrest with a curfew of 10 pm, Jake continues to take a downward decline. He starts just not coming home and lying to his mother. His mother gets a phone call in June 2012, saying he has stolen an electric shopping cart. “Impossible, he is in Lindon!” his mother states to an officer that’s been a friend to she and Jake. They go to the store that he allegedly was at, and there was Jake! That was it. Off to DT he went to await his fate. Here comes that program, he thought. Dread filled him.
August came and he entered the program, his mother had moved heaven and earth to get him there. “I can’t screw this up, they used their retirement to pay for this.” Jake thought. He did fairly well, but was slow to get it. In September they started to make sure all was in order to get his Eagle. Everyone had collected books and stored them over the past for years, awaiting Jake to fill out the Eagle Scout Project Workbook. Time was drawing near, he had one more badge to finish. He started thinking, “I don’t want to get my eagle, there’s still too much to do!” As the last possible weekend drew near, he attempted to get all of his advancement records. With so many position changes at church, nobody had them. The day of his 18th birthday came and he still did not have the signatures in his project workbook. They went to the Boy Scout Council in their area. Jake had completed all requirements and he could finish his project. They spent the day gathering the books and summoning the signatures needed. The last signature came at 8:00 pm. They were now able to deliver the several thousand books to the DT he had spent time at, along with the Head Start in his county. At last at 10:00 pm, the project was finished! He filled out the workbook and turned it in. He wasn’t very happy he spent his whole 18th birthday doing it, but he would be glad in the future. He graduated his program, went back to school again achieving his 3.89 and high honor roll. Prepared for his mission and is now serving in Mexico City North with his brother.
Jake proved that even though life dealt him a series of physical and emotional dis-abilities with a shift in attitude, determination, making the right choices, and doing what’s right one can overcome their demons, obstacles and adversity that is self-created or thrown at them and one can achieve any goal, however hopeless it looks at times, they set out to achieve