Scouting Out A Path To Success

February 09, 2010|By Arnold Mears

Great Minds Think Alike, So Who Thinks Like You?

When I was introduced to Scouting, I was - probably like every other kid - very unaware of how this would soon come to be the steppingstone I needed to make the transformation from boy to man.

I was raised in a rough part of Baltimore's east side. My dad was not around much because he was in the Navy, and we lost my mom when I was only 4 or 5. A car from social services came to pick my siblings and me up after my mom died and take us down to the Social Security offices. There's no feeling quite like feeling you're out there alone and no one cares.

The social services people found places for all of us to stay - except me. It looked like I was going to wind up in foster homes for good, but I was able to live with a couple of different family members for a while.

I tried doing all the right things at home and in school. But things weren't working out for me. I just couldn't see any progress. For me, I have to see results now, or I think I'm not getting anywhere, and I just give up.

And that's what happened. I gave up. I'd still go to school, but I wouldn't care what was going on. I'd get in trouble and wouldn't care about consequences. I just didn't care and didn't see any way out.

That's when I found Scouting.

Things had gotten bad at home, and I was locked out of the house. I had nowhere to turn, so I went back to my friend's house, and her mother was a den leader. And it all clicked. I found out about Scouting, and I liked it right away.

I knew I could achieve the things I wanted to once I got into Scouting. It taught me how to think on my own and think fast. It gave me ways to see progress. By earning merit badges and moving up through the ranks, I could see myself accomplishing things every week or two.

And the more I achieved, the more I wanted to. I wanted to be an Eagle Scout, and I got there. I continue my project for Franciscan Center to this day. Once a month, I lead my troop in collecting, cleaning and delivering clothes to the center. And twice a month, I and my sister, a Girl Scout, help make 700 sandwiches to give to the hungry.

I have a saying, "Great minds think alike, so who thinks like you?"

I live that every day. Scouting got me around people who think right and work right and act right. And you just feel you're a better person by being with them, and then you start to act like that too.

I've also learned that the higher you get, the heavier the weight is from what you did in the past. Scouting helps you when you're young - when it matters, before you make those mistakes that people hold you to later on.

Great minds think alike, and I found a lot of those minds in Scouting, including my now foster mother who was the den leader I spoke of earlier. She took me in and helped me when I needed it. She gave me more than a home; she helped give me a new life through Scouting.

So many people in Scouting helped me when I needed it, and now their effort is paying off because I can help myself and others. Now I really understand what it means for the Boy Scouts of America to turn 100 this week. For people like me, it means everything.

Arnold Mears is a 17 year-old Eagle Scout who will graduate from Perry Hall High School this June. He will share his personal story today at the Boy Scouts of America's Gala 2010 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. His e-mail is

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