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What Scouting did for me: A recent Eagle Scout tells his story

ryan-eberleFor Scouts, earning the Eagle Scout Award feels like the satisfying end to a long journey.

What they soon discover, though, is that the journey has just begun. Just ask Ryan Eberle, an Eagle Scout from Oaklade, Pa., who earned the honor two years ago this month.

Earning Scouting’s highest honor, he writes, made him a “marked man” — in a good way. Because the title has brought with it contacts and connections he wouldn’t have gotten without Scouting — specifically, an impressive paid summer internship at the headquarters of a major energy company near Pittsburgh.

I hear these kinds of stories all the time. Some big-wig finds out the young man he’s talking to is an Eagle Scout, and instantly all barriers between the young man and a great opportunity are eliminated.

Ryan’s story follows that pattern, but it starts long before his sweet gig. To get the full effect, best you read Ryan’s essay, called “What Scouting Can Do For You.”

If you or someone you know questions Scouting’s value, you won’t after reading Ryan’s essay after the jump:

What Scouting Can Do For You
By: Ryan Eberle

On Jan. 10, 2011, I passed my Eagle Scout Board of Review. It certainly felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders after passing my board, but during my Eagle Court of Honor I still questioned whether or not an Eagle was truly a “marked man.” Never would I have expected what was to come the following year at the Eagle Scout Recognition dinner for Laurel Highlands Council.

Before I continue my story I would like to tell you a little background information about myself. My educational experience was a great foundation for learning and networking. And the classes I learned the most in were not always the core English or math classes. Certain elective classes or single-semester classes, such as writing, public speaking, business management, engineering design, computer courses and career planning were all extremely helpful. Although I was not involved in any school sports, I knew I wanted to keep myself busy and involved in school.

High school was my big chance to do get my name out there and prove to people that I have a great work ethic. While in high school I was involved in marching band, Future Business Leaders of America and the Technology Student Association. These extracurricular activities are just as important as classroom material because they better prepare students for the future by giving them real-world projects.

Outside of school I have a loving family, a small farm to take care of, my part-time landscaping business as well as Scouting. In my opinion, family is where it all begins. I was extremely fortunate to have such wonderful parents that have supported and guided me through everything (they still do).

Since second grade I have been involved in Scouting. The first project I remember doing as a Cub Scout was building a birdhouse, which is fitting because for my Eagle Project I built 30 bluebird houses for McDonald Sportsman’s Club.

As a Cub Scout I got my feel for the outdoors and took part in multiple field trips and campouts. In fifth grade I became a Boy Scout in Troop 248. Throughout my Scouting career I learned not only about camping and how to survive in the outdoors, but I also learned plenty of necessary life skills.

While in Boy Scouts I took on multiple leadership roles and gradually became more involved in my troop. With those roles comes a great responsibility. Once you become involved and have responsibility, it is up to you how you want people to recognize you. You can be the leader who just points fingers and gives orders, or you can be the leader who teaches others how to do their job, is involved, is supportive and gives rewards when it is appropriate to do so. It may be difficult to do, but a true leader puts others before himself.

Now back to my story… After becoming an Eagle Scout, I was invited to our council’s Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner. Prior to the dinner I had to fill out a form describing my involvement in Scouts as well as a career I was interested in pursuing. For the past six years I have been interested in natural-resource exploration with a focus on the Marcellus Shale gas formation. I submitted my letter mentioning that I was interested in pursuing petroleum and natural gas engineering as well as getting my MBA.

About two weeks later I received a letter in the mail stating that my sponsor for the evening was going to be Mr. J. Brett Harvey, CEO of Consol Energy. I could not believe it! I had a great opportunity in front of me and I decided to take advantage of it. When I first met Mr. Harvey, one of the first things he said was “if you are looking for a summer job please email me your resume and tell us what you are interested in.” He handed me his business card.

During the recognition dinner, I did not sit directly next to Mr. Harvey, but I did sit next to two Scout executives and the president at Allegheny Ludlum [a specialty metals company]. Also, during that evening, Mr. Harvey was recognized for Consol’s support and generous donations to help build a bridge at the Summit. This bridge was a necessity to transport people and equipment during the National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

Later that evening I approached Mr. Harvey to say thank you and goodbye, but before I was able to get a word out, he said: “I realize we have not had a lot of time to talk this evening. How about stopping by my office at the CNX Center in Southpointe [pictured above] and we can chat?”Again, I could not believe what I just heard, and I immediately accepted his offer.

About one month later I was sitting in Mr. Harvey’s office at the Consol Energy headquarters in Southpointe, Pa. I never thought I would be sitting next to the CEO of a major corporation at the age of 17 and carrying on a normal conversation. However, that is what Scouting can do for you.

All of the hard work, long hours and leadership training paid off and granted me a seat next to Mr. Harvey. Just like my Scoutmaster, Mr. Thomas Taylor said, an Eagle Scout is a marked man. Even the engineers and business executives who were never part of Scouting recognize Eagle Scouts. They know there is a story or something special about that individual which sets them apart from the other 96 percent of men in the U.S.

All Scouts are hard workers, innovators and leaders, and those who achieve the rank of Eagle Scout best represent what it means to be in Scouting.

If I could give advice to any Scout, it would be for him to finish through and achieve the rank of Eagle. Becoming an Eagle Scout means more than getting a fancy medal. Becoming an Eagle is about meeting new people and effectively using all the resources available to you in order to complete a task. You will be looked highly upon by many: your Scout troop, college professors and employers. They are all wondering why you are a cut above the rest and what you can do for them.

So after about one hour of talking to Mr. Harvey in his office, I asked him if it would be possible for me to do an internship with Consol. I remembered what he said the night of our dinner and I knew it would be a great opportunity to get some work experience in before going to college.

Before I could even finish my question, Mr. Harvey said: “Yes, there is a good chance we could get you a summer internship here at Consol once you turn 18. Just make sure you send your résumé to us, and we will get back to you.”

Right then, I went to my folder and pulled out the résumé. A Scout is always prepared. I handed it to Mr. Harvey, and he said he will personally put my résumé in the folder to be reviewed by human resources.

At that moment I felt I had a pretty good chance of getting a summer position. I at least knew my résumé would be looked over. All of my contact information was on there as well as education and prior work experience. Mr. Harvey liked the idea that I ran my own landscaping business on the side and took care of the family farm. He told me that right there he knew I had a strong work ethic and that I was used to manual labor. My education and Scouting history proved to him that I was responsible and would make a good leader.

I thanked Mr. Harvey for his time and left his office with a firm handshake.

A few weeks after my visit with Mr. Harvey I got a call from human resources, and they asked me a few questions regarding what I was interested in for an internship. They said I should hear back from them in few weeks. Sure enough, a couple weeks later I received an email with my job offer. I accepted and started my paid summer internship with Consol Energy on June 24.

Since I started with Consol, I have visited two gas well rigs, one hydraulic fracturing job and two coal mines — with office work scattered in between. It has been an awesome learning experience and I cannot wait to see what I get to do next summer. Additionally, Mr. Harvey sponsored four individuals from my troop to go to the 2013 National Jamboree down at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Mr. Harvey was a Life Scout, and he enjoys giving back to the Scouting organization as much as possible. I realize I have been blessed with a great opportunity and I look forward to helping other Scouts like me build their careers. I have the Boy Scouts of America and Consol Energy to thank for this wonderful opportunity and good fortune.

This is what Scouting can do for you.


Consol headquarters photo copyright Ed Massery

6 Comments on What Scouting did for me: A recent Eagle Scout tells his story

  1. Myrle Knickerbocker // January 14, 2014 at 8:41 am // Reply

    Great story and example to share with our troop.
    This will make a nice Scout Master closing minute (or moment) at the end of our Red & White! – And best of all, this is somewhat local to us, just living a few hours north of Pgh

  2. Congratulations, Ryan. As I read your essay, I reflected back on my own good fortune, having had the experiences of Scouting and having worked diligently for the rank of Eagle (1962). I also was fortunate to become a Reservoir Engineer at Humble Oil & Refining (now ExxonMobil) conducting computer simulations of the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field on the north slope of Alaska beginning in 1970. I learned a lot from the experiences at Humble in Texas, California and Alaska oil fields (during 1968-1972), retrieving “conventional oil” that did not require extreme extraction technologies. Times and fossil fuel formations being exploited today are different from the 1970s.

    Keep your ears and eyes — and especially your mind — open as you continue with Consol or XTO or any other gas drilling and production company. Learn the upside and the downside of the operations. Understand what is at stake if something goes wrong — things do go wrong — and ask yourself whether the downside risks are worth taking. The future is in your hands, so make a future that you will be proud of.

    If necessary, be prepared to speak truth, even if requires being bold and courageous — which is what you have been trained to be. You have the moral authority, because you will inherit the power to guide the corporation, and your children will inherit what we do to our environment.

    Remember, A Scout it Brave. (google #AScoutIsBrave)

  3. Robert Conger // January 14, 2014 at 10:31 am // Reply

    Great Story! I’d hope to read 20 years from now how this young Eagle Scout has earned a leadership role in a Corporation himself, because he’s on his way!

  4. Not much Leave no Trace involved in pumping the ground under people’s homes full of millions of gallons’ worth of toxic chemicals to make oil and gas bubble up.

    • Carey Snyder // April 15, 2014 at 8:35 am // Reply

      J. Moody –

      Sorry you found it necessary to rain on the parade here.

      So glad you have solved your issues with arrogance.

      Apparently in your world {Middle Earth?}, the energy companies exist only to destroy the world.

      Would love for you to post how you don’t have a car and walk everywhere, don’t heat your house with oil, natural gas, coal, or electricity produced from petroleum products (or for that matter wood, since that would involve cutting down trees), and of course all of them produce that nasty contaminant CO2 [by the way, stop breathing, you are producing CO2], and use only wind power – no wait, wind turbines kill birds and leave such a sloppy trace – I guess your name says it all….

      and remember, feedback is a gift

    • Carey Snyder // April 15, 2014 at 8:36 am // Reply

      Hope I didn’t offend you with this post – no, wait, maybe I did!

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