Dustin Graves-Begay began his journey in scouting as a Cub Scout in Pack 313 in North Bend in 2008. In the Cub Scout program, Dustin earned the Arrow of Light award, Cut Scouting’s highest award. As a Cub Scout he enjoyed several summer day camps at Tugman State Park.
He joined Boy Scout Troop 156 in December 2014. Along his Boy Scout journey, Dustin earned a total of 36 merit badges, 15 more than the 21 required to earn the Eagle Scout award. He served in several leadership positions with the troop, including senior patrol leader. He also became involved within the Order of the Arrow, Boy Scouting’s honor society, where he has risen to the position of lodge chief.
For his Eagle Scout project, Dustin constructed and installed three park benches along the trail at Eel Lake at Tugman State Park. He was assisted by nine fellow Scouts and 10 other helpers working a total of 400 hours.
Dustin will graduate from high school in 2021, and plans on attending Southwestern Oregon Community College, and then Oregon State University to earn a degree in education.
The following is a short story explaining what Scouting means to him.
What Scouting means to me
Twelve years ago, my mother decided to enroll me in Cub Scouting to provide myself with the tools, experiences and role models to fuel my transition into strong adulthood. She was worried that a lack of a father figure in my life would be a detriment to my development, so Scouting would serve as a replacement for what I might have missed. I fully believe that her decision was the most influential to my growth as an individual. I also can say with certainty that the growth as a direct result of Scouting has been the greatest growth I have experienced.
Scouting’s mission statement as an organization is to “encourage the physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual development of young people so that they take a constructive place in society as responsible citizens, and as members of their local, national and international communities.” As a result of this program, though, I cannot put into words what the culmination of 12 years of scouting experiences feel like. Scouting to me is a unique program that other youth organizations cannot come close to. To me, scouting creates a positive and constructive social bubble that is placed around the youth in the program. A big part of who we are as people is constructed from who we surround ourselves with.
Scouting has benefited me socially more than in other areas. I was deathly afraid of public speaking and general social interaction. Teaching and speaking to crowds is now one of my favorite things to do. Scouting also led me to what I enjoy most in life. Nothing brings me more join than teaching others and seeing the result of the effort they put in. Therefore, I am now focusing my efforts on school with the end goal of pursuing a career in education. As of 2020, I am serving my second term as lodge chief of Oregon Trail Council’s branch of Scouting’s National Honor Society, the Order of the Arrow. This makes me one of the eight individuals that have been elected twice in Tsiqan’s 76-year history. The Order of the Arrow expanded my bubble from just my unit, to all of Oregon Trail Council, the other associated councils in my section, and select individuals on a national level.
Scouting has also given me countless outlets to serve my community, one of which was through my Eagle Scout project. As a Cub Scout attending day camp at Tugman State Park, I would walk the trails surrounding Eel Lake with my fellow Scouts, and on occasion my mother. I saw an old bench on each of the two trails that were very outdated and needed replacement. Ever since I learned what an Eagle Scout project was the thought of these old benches would enter my mind as a possible project. Once I became a Life Scout and felt I was ready to reach out to the State Park and propose the idea, I was surprised to learn that the project was on their list of needed additions to the park. I took on the project and led my unit in replacing both benches with weatherproofed rosewood benches secured to concrete platforms to ensure longevity. In addition to the two benches, I also constructed a third bench at the start of the left side trail. After the installment of the additional bench, I saw immediate use minutes after and was overjoyed.
Scouting has played a big part in my life and I plan to join the role models that accompanied me these past 12 years in the outer edges of the bubble keeping the structure sound and the positive development of youth strong. I want to thank them, my family, and friends for this chapter in my life and I look forward to what is in store for me in the future.