The High Achiever

A Scoutmaster's Minute
by Kurt Schwoppe, Troop 1396
September 4, 2007
What kind of person risks their life by being the first person to fly solo around the world in both a plane and a balloon?   What kind of person enjoys competing in the Iditarod dog sled race across 1,194 miles of frozen Alaska wilderness?  What kind of person smashes the speed record for crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat?  What kind of person sets the speed, distance, and altitude record in a glider?  What kind of person swims the English Channel, runs in an Ironman Triathlon, and has raced a car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
Is this person really a high achiever, or just some crazy guy with way too much money??

What if I told you that this same person is also the President of the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) and is a member of the National Executive Board of Boy Scouts of America?  What if I told you this person earned his Eagle Badge at the age of 13?

Steve Fossett is a high achiever.  Building upon the lessons of Scouting, Steve has lived a remarkable life filled with high adventure and accomplishment.  Sure, it is very risky to pilot a balloon around the world or a small boat across the Atlantic, but the Scout motto, to always Be Prepared, has allowed Steve to overcome these huge risks and achieve things that most of us just dream of.  Steve also learned from Scouting that real living is going out and doing.  It starts learning how to build a fire and spending a night in the woods, and progresses into climbing a mountain or kayaking down a rapids.  You don’t have to set an endurance record or cross an ocean, but if you think playing action video games or watching adventure shows on TV are substitutes for real living, then your life will never come close to finding the joy that comes with completing the challenge of a real adventure.

The news came out just this afternoon that Steve Fossett’s plane is missing somewhere near his home in the desert of Nevada.  He wasn’t going for a new speed record or high-altitude endurance record.  It was just a short flight to enjoy the beautiful weather of the holiday weekend.  His loss appears to be nothing more than an unfortunate accident.  It is our hope and prayer that this great friend of Scouting is able to once again use his scouting skills to see him through this adversity.  But regardless of the outcome, I hold up Steve Fossett’s life to all of you as a man who followed the Scouting Spirit, and lived his life to the fullest.
Copyright © 2007, Kurt Schwoppe, Troop 1396