Boy Scouts of America
Eagle Review Board
Dear Sir or Madam:
It is a challenge to write a letter about one’s child without sounding too subjective, but I’ll give it a try. My son, Garrett Dillon O’Hara, is 13 years old as of this writing; he is applying for consideration to be awarded the Eagle Scout level of Scouting in his local council, and I am happy to write a letter of recommendation for him. Garrett has been actively involved in scouting since he was a Tiger cub. “Active” is hardly the adjective for it—he has been proactive in achieving his merit badges, participating in campouts, avidly attending Summer Camp activities and learning safety regulations for scouting. Garrett’s participation and enthusiasm for scouting came as a surprise to me; Garrett demonstrated a maturity and confidence in his approach to scouting achievements that compared favorably to Scouts that were far older than he.
I was favorably impressed (and personally moved) by the Eagle Scout project Garrett chose to pursue six months ago. Rather than work on a project local to us, in Northern Virginia, Garrett wanted to organize a clothing, toy and small appliance drive for disadvantaged families in Appalachia. Garrett learned that this sounds like a great notion up front, but also entails a vast amount of coordination, logistics effort and creativity on the back end. There was much to do—finding a ‘depot location’ on the far end that would help us distribute the material to families in need, soliciting donations locally (primarily at our local Moose Lodge, where Garrett discovered a flair for public speaking in front of the crowds of potential donors in his Class A uniform). Coordinating with a human services organization in West Virginia that provided volunteers and a place to donate leftovers too, arranging for volunteers both in the troop and also with West Virginia Boy Scout troops, borrowing a gigantic trailer to transport the clothes to Romney, West Virginia, and other logistical tasks, up to and including providing the Pizza. No small effort—hundreds of hours of volunteer hours. At the end, I thanked him for all he had done. Eagle badge or no Eagle badge, it was a fantastic effort and it felt good to help 120+ families and individuals that could really use a hand getting through the Winter.
So, in the end, I’m back to where I started from, trying to say objectively what I can’t help but feel subjective about. Garrett has grown tremendously from his time spent in the Boy Scouts. Not just in terms of maturity, and skills and leadership, but also ethically and civilly. He has learned to handle adversity and challenges.. not just from fellow scouts but also from adults. I’ve asked Garrett more than once what his plans will be when he does become an Eagle Scout. Will he fade away and become inactive? Not in the least. It’s Garrett’s plan to join a troop local to him and participate in a Sea Scouting Venture Crew after he attains the Eagle, so I’d say that Scouting has made a profound, positive and long term effect on him.
As Garrett’s dad, and I’m proud of the boy he is and the man he is becoming. Scouting had a significant impact on the process. Please consider him for Eagle Advancement.