When a Scout earns the Eagle Scout rank, encourage them to become a National Eagle Scout Association member.
Membership provides networking resources, direct NESA communications, members-only offers and the chance to apply for college scholarships funded by multiple endowments. Funding for these scholarships comes from the National Eagle Scout Association, the Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarship, Hansen & Mary Hall Scholarship Fund, the Lester S. McElwain Eagle Scholarship Endowment, and the Robert and Rebecca Palmer Eagle Scout Scholarship Endowment.
“Providing scholarships to our members is one of the most tangible ways the National Eagle Scout Association helps further the mission and values of Scouting. I am confident these young men and women will call on the skills they’ve developed on their journey to Eagle,” says David Ehrlich, NESA vice president of finance and scholarships. “While they have just begun their life journey, the leadership and character learned in Scouting has prepared them for this educational adventure and for life.”
More than 5,000 young men and women applied for this year’s scholarships. The funds, totaling $536,000, were recently awarded to 65 Eagle Scouts, including the Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarship national recipient Eden Tillotson, 19, of girls Troop 555 in San Diego, Calif.
“I am incredibly grateful for everything Scouting has given me, and especially this scholarship, which will help me immensely with my education,” she says.
The national recipient
Eden is attending the University of California, San Diego, majoring in human biology with plans to become a doctor and serve in Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization that helps in countries in conflict or those affected by endemic diseases.
She is an honors student and has started working at a university lab focusing on how microbes affect neurological tissue. This work will better help researchers understand the interactions of neurodegenerative diseases, like leprosy, Parkinson’s and tuberculosis, with the nervous system, Eden says. The scholarship will help her devote time to her studies, lab research and volunteerism.
Eden is starting a college club to raise awareness about human trafficking in San Diego, a cause she was passionate about in high school. She also hopes to volunteer in a hospital while attending UCSD. And she’s still involved in Scouting — she’s helping found a troop in Coronado as an assistant Scoutmaster.
As a youth, she joined a maritime Exploring club before joining a Venturing crew and Sea Scout ship.
“I absolutely loved all three of these programs,” Eden says. “Each program was unique in their opportunities, some focusing more on maritime activities, like sailing, and others more on backpacking and land activities.”
In 2017, she represented Venturing as a delegate to the Report to the Nation, an annual BSA report to the U.S. Congress. In 2019, when girls could first join Scouts BSA, she became a founder and the first senior patrol leader of girls Troop 555.
“Helping create my troop has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” Eden says. “We created a community for girls that I haven’t seen in any other organization. A community where girls are empowered as equals to be leaders in their communities, change-makers through service, adventurers in the wild, to raise their voice through public speaking, and encouraged to explore the various fields that merit badges cover.”
For her Eagle Scout project, Eden led volunteers in putting together 1,160 masks to donate to refugees in her hometown.
You can see the full list of NESA scholarship recipients here. To read more about eligibility requirements for the scholarships and how to apply, click here. To support scholarships for Eagle Scouts, please click here.