I am always inspired by the people I meet, and as the New Year begins I like to take a moment to reflect on what it is about people that inspires me the most.  It seems that the quality of Integrity continues to be at the top of the list.  I have had the honor of attending three Eagle Scout award ceremonies that have commemorated the high level of integrity and achievement of three exceptional young men, and I would love to share with you their inspirational stories.  Here is some information about the Eagle Scout program that will give us all some perspective.  

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Only four percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank after a lengthy review process. Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges. The Eagle Scout must demonstrate Scout Spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages.

The first Eagle Scout award ceremony that I attended was for a young man named Austin Rumbley who was a member of the church youth group that I mentored.  I had always known Austin as a natural leader within the group, and I always knew that I could count on him.  I recently spoke to him about his experience as an Eagle Scout, and he told me that his ability to lead came from accomplishing his final required service project.  He admitted that when he was younger he was not very organized so his troop leader asked him to write down what he wanted to accomplish, to speak the words he had written, and then he held him accountable to accomplishing what he said he would do. Austin learned that your word is everything, without it you have nothing.  Integrity.

Kyle Stanley is the son of two dear clients and friends that I have had the honor to work with.  When I asked Kyle why he decided to complete the Eagle Scout ranking, he told me that it fit perfectly with his quest to better himself and to be part of the change that he wants to see in the world.  He then told me that a good leader looks at the people in front of him and finds out what their best skill is and lets them do what they are good at.  Confidence comes from a positive attitude and knowing that you are capable of more than you think.  Integrity. 

Jephon White is the son of one of my very first clients and friends.  He just recently received his Eagle Scout badge, and when we spoke about his accomplishment, he told me that he originally wanted to complete his final project to make his parents and peers proud of him.  What surprised him the most was how proud he was of himself when he discovered that it is ok to struggle, that everyone struggles, and that working through the struggle is what makes us capable of achieving great things.  Individual determination doesn’t come from someone else, it is discovered in each of us.  Integrity.

I am so proud to know all three of these young men, and I am looking forward to watching them accomplish their goals to be a Law Enforcement Officer, a Navy Seal and an Aerospace Engineer.   As I look forward to 2017 I have decided to write down my goals, to be accountable to do what I say I will do, to lead by allowing others to do what they are good at, and to know that I can be proud of what has been accomplished.  In essence my goal is to live in integrity.  Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had this mind set when I was 17.   I guess it is never too late to be inspired by an Eagle Scout. 

Mark Ramey