Jonathan Andersen never let a little fame get to his head. But he did let it serve as extra motivation along his Scouting trail.
Jonathan and his dad, Bruce, were photographed together in 2008 for a Boy Scouts of America recruiting campaign. More than a decade later, Jonathan is now an Eagle Scout.
“The first time I saw the poster, it was on a telephone pole in West Philadelphia,” Jonathan says. “I was a little embarrassed. Looking at it now, it shows how much I’ve grown and learned.”
Jonathan’s parents framed the poster and displayed it in the entryway of their home. It’s still hanging there today.
“I don’t know if it inspired me to become an Eagle, but it didn’t let me forget,” Jonathan says.
But Jonathan’s story isn’t about the destination. It’s not really about that auspicious starting point, either. It’s about one young man’s incredible Scouting journey and what he learned along the way.
“I enjoyed the adventure of Scouting,” Jonathan says. “I got to meet a lot of people that I would not have otherwise met. I met friends I will have for a long time.”
Saying yes to opportunity
Scouters are notorious for saying “yes.” Yes, I’ll bring snacks to the den meeting. Yes, I’ll serve on the troop committee. Yes, I can make that campout.
Bruce Andersen is no different.
In the spring of 2008, Chuck Eaton, a BSA professional who at the time served in the Cradle of Liberty Council (he’s now Scout Executive of the Spirit of Adventure Council) put out a call. He was looking for Scouts and adult leaders who could show up for a BSA photo shoot.
Bruce said yes.
The photos were used for the BSA’s “Be A Scout” campaign. Several Scouts and their parents, including Bruce and his two sons, were featured in the resulting calendars, billboards and posters.
So what happened between the recruiting poster photo and the second photo seen at the top of this post (which Jonathan and his dad re-created for this blog post)?
A decade of memories.
Jonathan joined Cub Scouts as a Tiger in 2007 and eventually earned the Arrow of Light. He moved to Troop 33 in Takoma Park, Md., where he was a member for more than seven years. He earned 30 merit badges, registered more than 100 nights of camping, attended the 2017 National Jamboree and served his troop as senior patrol leader.
“The thing I enjoyed the most was summer camp — both as a camper and as camp staff,” Jonathan says. “I feel like I was part of a large family. I got a lot out of teaching the Webelos. I feel like we gave them a great week and an introduction to Scouting.”
Jonathan says Philmont was another highlight, and he calls a trek at the high-adventure base in New Mexico “something every Scout should do.”
“Not only was it an adventure, but it showed what we could do as leaders,” he says. “It pushed our limits and challenged us.”
In a way, that 2008 recruiting campaign challenged Jonathan, too. It’s a challenge he met with a big, happy smile.
Scouts Then and Now
For more uplifting stories like this, visit our Scouts Then and Now series.