Meet Life Scout Adrian Allred of Ship 818, Alexandria, VA, National Capital Area Council and a priest in the Kingstowne Ward in the Mount Vernon Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is being interviewed by a WJLA television station for his amazing and thoughtful Eagle Scout service project. Adrian’s 48 Resource Care Kits were supplied to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s first responders to better help children with autism, anxiety, or language barriers in medical emergencies. But more than that, it was a way for him, a teen who is high functioning autistic, to help others with all levels of autism. Completing the steps for Eagle Scout through his service project was a way for Adrian to work out of his comfort zone while achieving a personal goal: helping rescue squads better respond to autistic individuals.
In this picture, you see a confident, self-aware Adrian, but he was not always that way. He was once an autistic lad lacking in confidence, having difficulty communicating, and problems with social interaction. Today Adrian exemplifies the end results of what Scouting can deliver through Scouting’s aims and methods. He represents a young man of exemplary character, effective leadership, and commitment to his community.
Adrian’s Scouting participation (as well as any other youth’s participation in the Scouting program) complements the Children and Youth program of his ward in the areas of personal development as well as service and activities. As Adrian participated in Scouting activities, interacted with other Scouts, set goals and achieved them, and worked with boy and adult leaders, he developed a solid work ethic of determination and dedication. Scouting offered to him an opportunity to explore many interests as reflected in his selecting and earning 46 merit badges and provided him with leadership opportunities in settings other than with the youth of his ward. Instead of being a narrowly focused individual, he has become a person with broad interest and understanding.
Attending the World Jamboree in 2019, Adrian met and interacted with Scouts from around the world. Scouting offers such “mountain top” opportunities of high adventure. As Sister Allred said about participating in such activities, they “change your focus” to be at an event like this. Being able to attend such an event as a World Jamboree did not happen overnight. For Adrian, it began many years ago as a Tiger Cub in Pack 1509. Through Scouting’s progressive program plan of activities, advancement, outdoor programs, and emphasis on ethics and citizenship, Adrian developed the personal characteristics and traits that allowed him to comfortably participate in this mountain top experience.
Personal growth rates high in Scouting’s spotlight. Scouting uses service projects and the good turn to build individuals who are committed to providing a helping hand to themselves and the community. As in our new youth program, Scout service projects teaches youth the life skills of Christlike attributes to serve one another. Scout service projects are an essential part of den, pack, troop, crew, and ship programs at the unit as well as an integral part of an individual Scout’s advancement program. Just as there is a National Day of Service, Scouting’s national good turn is Scouting for Food conducted every November in most councils.
Adrian was able to transform himself through the Scout program. Of course, complete transformation is a life-long process. I have seen the power of Scouting to change the lives of our young people. Scouting’s mission and vision is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral decisions over their lifetimes. This is exactly what the Savior wants for us. He wants us to become the best version of ourselves. Scouting offers youth another venue to fill their lives with wholesome activities that make a difference. Adrian is a grand example of what Scouting can do when done correctly.
Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, national, and international levels in the U.S. and overseas. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, and is currently a skipper’s mate for Ship 818. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.