Eagle Scout Spotlight is a weekly blog post highlighting individuals who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Eagles are given a set of prepared questions in writing and they respond to them as they see fit. Responses may be edited for spelling mistakes, but they are the words and thoughts of each Eagle Scout.
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Happy 2023, and welcome back to Eagle Scout Spotlights. Spotlights took a break for a little bit, but they are ready to hit the ground running in the New Year. Our first spotlight of 2023 is with our current Council Commissioner and Outstanding Eagle Scout, Michael Allison (1975, NOESA).
Michael grew up in Michigan with his two brothers, earning his Eagle at sixteen. He was a member of Troop 230 in the West Michigan Shores Council, now part of the modern-day Michigan Cross Roads Council, and credits earning the Electronics merit badge as his motivation to get educated in Electronic Engineering. Mike graduated from Michigan Technological University in 1981 and moved to Livermore in the same year to work at the Livermore National Lab.
He is serving as the second Council Commissioner in the short history of the Golden Gate Area Council. Before taking on this role, Michael volunteered as a District Commissioner, a Unit Commissioner, and on the Roundtable Staff for the Twin Valley District, in addition to giving his time as a member of the Wood Badge Staff and the TV Training Team. Mike also volunteered at the unit level as a Cubmaster for Pack 900 and Scoutmaster for Troop 900 in Livermore. For his efforts along the way, he has received the District Award of Merit (2013), Silver Beaver (2019), and NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award (2019).
Eagle FactThe vision of the BSA Commissioner Corps is that “Every member of the BSA has a great Scouting experience”. To learn more about the GGAC’s Commissioner Corps, visit their web page at ggacbsa.org/commissioner.
Michael finds being a commissioner rewarding as he gets to help others solve problems and watch people and units become successful. Mike believes the GGAC is unique because
“I find the human diversity in our council amazing and couldn’t imagine scouting anywhere else. Our locality to the ocean, mountains, rivers, and lakes make GGAC much different that I experienced in West Michigan Shores council. As a youth, our camping and hiking trips didn’t have the same diversity.”
Looking back on his scouting career, he explained how his parents supported his scouting efforts, but his Scoutmaster, Bob Foster, and Assistant Scoutmaster, Bill Sherd, were the most influential on this trail to Eagle. Mike considers one of the best parts of being an Eagle Scout is the large community he now gets to participate in, from his time as a youth, and an adult Scouter, in addition to the privilege of watching young people develop and become great humans.
When asked about the most valuable skill he learned in Scouting, Mike referenced leadership and a lack of opportunity to develop it professionally. “We talk about Scouting being a leadership program, and it’s true. At one point in my career, I was counseled to ‘be a better leader’, but my manager couldn’t explain what that meant. Now, with my adult experience and training in scouting, I can explain it, use those skills, and be more effective because of those learned skills.”
When facing life challenges, Mike leans on the Scout law to guide him through.
“Probably the toughest times are those of incredible stress due to workload, obligations, and over-scheduling my time. I find that the best thing to do is focus on completing those “todos” one at a time until I feel like I have achieved some ‘breathing room.’ It’s during these times that I need to remember to be friendly, cheerful, and courteous because my burdens shouldn’t become other people’s troubles.”
Mike doubled down on being cheerful when asked if he would add a thirteenth point to the Scout Law. Stating he would not add a new point but put more emphasis on the word. “ min attitudes are fine, but it seems to me that people should also adopt more silliness, joy, and awe to everyday life. Too many people are ‘sad sacks,’ and that looks like a tough way to live. Find something every day to make you smile.”
Mike shared advice for current and future Eagle Scouts: “All my life I’ve been a ‘recovering procrastinator.’ Don’t put things off. You get more done when you get on task right away, you feel a good sense of accomplishment. Life is short, get busy living it today.”
He did not stop there with advice when asked how an Eagle Scout can pay it forward.
“We frequently hear the term “pay it forward” but usually think about it in monetary terms. Consider what you received in exchange while you earned your Eagle award; time, attention, coaching and mentoring, learning, and so on. Ideally, we’d like to see you pay it forward by giving the same skills back to the scouting program, but in fact, if you give others those same gifts in every aspect of your life, you will be living up to the Eagle charge.”
Next week we will spotlight GGAC’s Scout Executive Mike Hale.
Have you completed an Eagle Service Project in the GGAC or one of it’s legacy councils?
GGAC NESA Committee will host one-hour virtual panel / mentoring discussions to connect new Eagle Scouts, and Star and Life scouts, with industry leaders and older Eagle Scouts.
Stay tuned for me details.
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