Venturers heading to military academy forged friendships in Scouting

One-third of Venturing Crew 19 in Normal, Illinois, has the same goal this summer: report to Cadet Basic Training at West Point.

Danielle Cross, Shane Hickman and Isaac Hageberg each chose the U.S. Military Academy with different career paths in mind, but they’re all looking to better themselves while helping others.

“When I come to the end of my life, I wish to know that I made people’s lives better,” Hageberg says. “I want to live a life about serving those around me.”

Hageberg wants to attend Army Ranger School while Cross aims to be a doctor and Hickman plans to become a pilot.

Hageberg and Hickman are Eagle Scouts and earned the Venturing Ranger Award. Cross earned the Gold Award, Girl Scouts’ highest honor. It’s not surprising that Eagle Scouts and Gold Award recipients are well represented in the military academy’s class. In fact, Scouts make up a large percentage of cadets at many of America’s military academies.

“The support, service and lifelong friendships among people in these communities is unparalleled and I want to always be a part of it,” Cross says.

Adventure and leadership

Boy Scout Troop 19 had an on-again, off-again Venturing Crew, Hickman says. Hageberg and Hickman joined the crew to help reinvigorate its membership and to take part in its high adventure opportunities. The crew has gone on canoeing, backpacking, cross country skiing, cycling and rock climbing treks. Being a small group helps in the planning of big summertime trips, Hickman says, as it was easier to gain consensus. It also helps that everyone is good friends, he says.

Cross joined Venturing Crew 19 in high school after her father — a West Point alumnus — was stationed from New York to Illinois. Outdoor adventure and comradeship were primary draws in Venturing for her.

“Life is not only about the final destination, but also how you get there and the lessons and fun you have along the way,” Cross says.

Scouting has also taught her about leadership, how to delegate tasks and recruit help from others. Her fellow Venturers agree that they have been given the chance to lead in a safe environment, where one can fail, learn and rebound.

“I learned how to fail at a time when that was OK,” Hageman says. “I was encouraged to figure out my leadership style.”

All three Venturers knew of each other’s plans to apply to West Point, and they interviewed with their U.S. Congressmen to seek a nomination to the academy.

“They all asked about leadership,” Hickman says.

Thanks to Venturing, they could confidently answer those questions.

You can learn about Venturing and how to start a crew here. And if your Eagle Scout is serving in the military, you can share his achievements in the armed forces for possible inclusion in Eagles’ Call magazine.

About Michael Freeman 118 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.