A Delaware County Eagle Scout recently completed and published a guide to scouting that he hopes will help scouts for years to come.
Haden Fulkerson, 17, a resident of Genoa Township and senior at Westerville Central High School, said scouting has been a part of his life for nearly as long as he can remember.
“I went to my first Cub Scout meeting when I was in first grade, and I’ve been a part of the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) ever since,” Fulkerson said. “Cub Scouts lasted until halfway through fifth grade, and that year, I earned my Arrow of Light, crossing over into Boy Scouts. I (earned) my Eagle Scout right before my junior year of high school, and I published SOAR around a year-and-a-half after that.”
Fulkerson said he learned several lessons while he completing his Eagle Scout project.
“The process of completing my Eagle Scout project changed me in many ways,” he said. “I developed professionally, creatively, and as a leader in ways you could not learn in a classroom. It saddens me to know that only about five percent 5% of Boy Scouts will complete their journey to Eagle, because the lessons learned from the trail to Eagle need to be shared.”
Fulkerson said he got the idea to write “SOAR: An Eagle Scout’s Guide to Advancement and Leadership” while he was working on his Eagle Scout project, and he wanted to help other scouts see the value in completing their project.
“I can put a great amount of trust into and develop friendships with Eagle Scouts because I know how hard they have worked and how creative they can be,” Fulkerson said. “‘SOAR’ is not an attempt to make the Eagle Scout project any easier — rather, it is supposed to show Scouts that they can do it and shows them what they can get out of it. I was inspired to write ‘SOAR’ because I want to be responsible for a growth in the number of Eagle Scout ranks earned each year.”
Fulkerson said he began working on the book in November 2019, the month he earned his Eagle Scout title.
“The journey to complete ‘SOAR’ was a long and arduous one,” he said. “After about three months, I had a 40,000-word manuscript, but right when the pandemic began, I was pretty overwhelmed and had to take a break. It would be nine months before I’d ever pick it up again. During that time, I had thoughts of chopping the book up into small articles and blog posts, but something inside me said that that would be the easy way out. In November of this past year, I finally brought myself to finish the book.”
From November 2020 until February of this year, Fulkerson finished “SOAR” after spending hours “day and night” editing, researching, and having diagrams and illustrations made by fellow Eagle Scout Jake Bibbo. Fulkerson estimated about six months of work went into “SOAR” over the period of about a year.
He added “SOAR” contains his experiences and advice.
“The first part of ‘SOAR’ that I wrote was an account of my Eagle Scout project,” Fulkerson said. “I spend a lot of time highlighting my experiences in Scouting, such as my time dog sledding at a camp called Northern Tier. I bring up my experiences to point out what others have the opportunity to do, how they can do it properly, and how they can get the most out of it while having fun! By putting the long process of earning the Eagle Scout rank onto some pages, it helps Scouts put it into perspective and assures them that they, too, can earn the prestigious rank.”
The book can be found by searching its title on Amazon, and Fulkerson said the book is contains a variety of insights for Scouts.
“This book is for any Scout out there who wants to practice leadership skills, serve their community, and climb through the Scouting ranks,” Fulkerson said. “‘SOAR’ offers leadership skills that focus on running meetings, directing small teams, and leading one’s own service projects. The advice provided in the book is sure to improve the Scouting experience of the reader and can help them develop as a person, while having fun along the way, if they are willing to put in the hard work that ‘SOAR’ lays out for them.”
Fulkerson said he will be graduating this spring and plans to attend Emory University in Atlanta this fall.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.