We asked Christian Rejonis, an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, who is currently serving as the Lodge Chief, youth leader, for the Order of the Arrow Guneukitschik Lodge 317 an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 103 to tell us what Scouting means to him. Here is his answer to our question:
"I was asked to write about what Scouting meant to me. When I was thinking about this, I decided to sum it up in one word. This was no easy task for me because I could go on and on about what the Scouting program means to me. In the end the word I chose to use was “opportunity”. Now you may ask why I chose the word opportunity, the reason is what Scouting gave to me and so many young people like me. It gave me the opportunity to travel and experience different things. I also must give Scouting credit for opening the doors for my future career and in my opinion most importantly giving me the opportunity to give back.
Scouting gave me the opportunity to experience things and go places I would have never had the chance to go any other way. I have been lucky enough to go places such as Florida Sea Base in the Florida Keys, the 2010 National Scout Jamboree at Ft. A.P. Hill Virgina, the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) at both Indiana State University and Michigan State University and many others. Each of these gave me a different unique experience. Sea Base was about adventure. I have been there two times. The first time, I participated in the Outer Island Adventure which is like playing survivor on an island. The second time was an amazing experience SCUBA diving in the Florida Keys. The Jamboree was an amazing experience. I was on Order of the Arrow staff for this event and got to see many things from set up to tear down for the Jamboree. NOAC is an experience unlike any other. At NOAC, I was learning and having a great time with other young men in the OA who are passionate about this program, just as I am. The cool thing about all these experiences is I got to meet people from all over the country at them. I can truly say I was blessed to meet some life long friends at these events.
I think the most unique way Scouting helped me is by giving me the opportunity for future careers. This may seem odd to many but the merit badge program opened my eyes to what I wanted to do with my life. You see, the way this happened is, I was taking the Lifesaving merit badge at Camp Sinoquipe. I learned that I really enjoyed it. I then expanded on this by taking BSA Lifeguarding, which lead to my High School job as a lifeguard at the local YMCA. From this point I learned that I still wanted to learn more and took my first EMT class. Now I am currently working as an EMT, and am a paramedic student, which is what I plan to do for the rest of my life.
Scouting has given me the opportunity to give back. Now, I said this is the most important one of all, and I believe it. In Scouting, once you achieve the highest rank of Eagle you should give back to the program. I am currently lucky enough to be the Lodge Chief of you Order of the Arrow Lodge. This is a role where I get to be a youth leader and help guide others in making decisions. I am also an Assistant Scoutmaster where I get to support youth in the choices they are making in their Scouting paths. I have been very fortunate with all I have gotten to do in the Scouting program, perhaps more fortunate then most. The way I see it is if I give back and am able to help give one youth an opportunity I was given, and then they give it to another youth the program will continue to build.
I can’t express how much the Scouting program has given me. I truly don’t know where I would be today if I never got involved in the Boy Scouts of America. This is just the tip of the iceberg but it can give you just an idea of how deeply I believe in this program, a program that has given me so much.
Yours in Scouting,
Scouting means a lot to Christian and many others in the Scouting program. We want hear what it means to you. Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.