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How Scouting Influenced my Path to International Biathlon Competition

By Jake Brown, Northern Star Council Eagle Scout

My name is Jake Brown, I am an Eagle Scout from Troop 695 (Dec. 2, 2009) in Eden Prairie; once a high school cross-country skier competing in the Minnesota state high school meet, today I'm training to qualify for the Olympic Games in the sport of biathlon (cross-country skiing and rifle shooting!). It was at Many Point Scout Camp that I was first exposed to rifle shooting, and - although I was ironically a lousy shot at first - I eventually earned the rifle-shooting merit badge through my Troop.

Through Scouting I similarly developed numerous tangible skills, whether related to personal management or developing as an athlete and avid outdoorsman – swimming, climbing, sailing, shooting, canoeing, dogsledding, and backpacking to name a few. It was a preference to being outside that drew me to Scouting; conversely, it was Scouting that fueled that preference into a passion for the outdoors and the skills that came with them. However, it has been those intangible skills and values that Scouting instilled in me, those that have set my mental focus, led my moral compass, and molded my character, that have stuck with me most.

Sounds similar to the Scout Oath, doesn't it? As the Oath says, we as Scouts also have an obligation to keep our selves physically fit. As I've found in the world of athletic performance, however, the moral direction required to persevere through trying circumstances and the mental strength required to complete demanding tasks are even more important than raw physical fitness and athletic skill.

As a Scout works toward completing his Eagle Scout project, even if he possesses the necessary skills to complete the project, he soon learns that there is more than skill required to do so. Long-term vision, goal-setting, and planning in addition to work-ethic and perseverance are just as vital to achieving the desired outcome – I learned this as I built ski racks for the City of Lakes Loppet, a cross-country ski race in Minneapolis, for own my project in 2009.

I've learned the same as I've committed myself to be the best athlete I can be: these intangible values that I was first exposed to in Scouts and are embodied by the Scout Oath and Law have been just as important in my athletic development as the physical training, and without them I wouldn't have the opportunities that I have today to train and race with the US National Biathlon team, compete internationally, and strive to qualify for the Olympic Games this winter.

Help support former scouter Jake Brown by attending a free, fun workout and fundraiser in Eden Prairie!

Check off the Fitness Test (requirement 6) and learning about fitness careers (requirement 9) from your Personal Fitness Merit Badge!

Event Info

When: December 29,2017
Scout program and fitness test: 4:30 p.m. (sharp!) – 5:25 p.m.
Additional workout and fundraiser event (optional): 5:30 p.m.– 7 p.m.

Where: Higher Power Training, Eden Prairie, MN
10360 W 70th Street, Eden Prairie
Via the Shady Oak Rd. east exit off Hwy 212

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How Scouting Influenced my Path to International Biathlon Competition

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