In this week’s spotlight we continue to highlight members of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts. Vanessa Chen is an Eagle Scout out of Troop 7062G of the Silverado District. In 2018, she was recognized with the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership’s (CVNL) Heart of Napa Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. She will be graduating from Vintage High School of Napa this year as an honor roll student and has been offered admission to Stanford University next fall. Even though Vanessa’s time as a youth in Scouts BSA has come to an end, she plans to continue her journey as an Assistant Scoutmaster and President of a local Venturing Crew.
Are there other Scouting or Non-Scouting awards or recognitions you would like to mention?
- Order of the Arrow Candidate
- Meritorious Action Award
- Sangha Award
- STEM Nova Award – Up and Away
- CVNL Heart of Napa Youth Volunteer of the Year 2018
- NVUSD School Board Student of the Month – December 2020
- President’s Volunteer Gold Award 2020
- Honor Roll throughout high school
Vanessa was recognized with the Meritorious Action Award after a kayaking trip with her brother last summer. While on the Napa River, they noticed an elderly person stranded on the river bank with a deflated kayak. Vanessa and Victor towed the individual’s kayak to the opposite riverbank and helped her to reunite with a friend.
Tell us a little bit about you…
Hi everyone! My name is Vanessa Chen and I am a senior at Vintage High School in Napa, California. I have been offered admission to Stanford University and I am planning to double major in math and physics. My younger brother is currently pursuing his Eagle Rank and my mom is an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 7062G. I am staying active with my troop and training to be an Assistant Scoutmaster. In addition, I have been elected to the position of Crew President for the newly established Venturing Crew in American Canyon.
When and where do you earn your Eagle Scout?
I was 17 years old when I completed my Eagle Project in American Canyon as part of Troop 7062G in the Golden Gate Area Council.
What did you do for your Eagle Project?
I led a team of scouts and scouters to construct and install eight directional trail markers and four orienteering markers at Newell Open Space at American Canyon to replace those lost or destroyed by the 2019 wildfires. I held two workdays and an installation day over the course of three months.
Did you have a favorite merit badge(s)? Did any merit badges(s) lead to a hobby or profession?
My favorite merit badge would be Basketry. It was the first one I ever earned and I earned it at Advancement Camp. I have seen and heard of large-scale scouting events, but this was the first time I participated in one. It was amazing to see scouts from all over the council come together to learn new skills.
What does being an Eagle Scout mean to you? What does it mean to be a part of the Inaugural class of Female Eagle Scouts?
Being an Eagle Scout, especially as part of the Inaugural class of Female Eagle Scouts, means being a trailblazer and a role model for everyone around me. We are all leaders of ourselves and others. It means living the Scout Oath and Law in my everyday life, whether or not I am in the scouting program or in uniform. Being an Eagle Scout is an honor that accompanies me for the rest of my life and a constant reminder that my actions will influence those around me.
What is the greatest personal asset you developed while earning your Eagle Scout or from being an Eagle in the greater community? How has this asset contributed towards personal fulfillment and success in your professional or personal life?
Becoming an Eagle Scout is an amazing honor and I am proud to represent Scouts BSA. Before my project, I have always been an introvert. I am naturally shy and I try to avoid the spotlight. However, carrying out my Eagle Project to the best of my ability has enabled me to step outside my comfort zone and further my personal growth. I have gained so much self-confidence and trust in my own abilities. I am also very grateful for everyone who contributed to my project and helped me make a difference in our community.
Do you have any advice for your fellow Eagles, or for those working towards becoming an Eagle? Or is there common advice that you think should be ignored?
My advice is to take your time progressing through the scouting ranks if you aren’t pressed for time. The Eagle Rank is a wonderful goal to reach for but the bigger reward is the scouting journey and everything you experience along the way. I have met some amazing people who have inspired me to become a better version of myself and I am forever grateful to them. By the way, this is nowhere near the end of my scouting journey. Although I am no longer a youth participant, I plan to stay in the program for as long as I am able.
If you could add a thirteenth point to the scout law, what would it be?
Perseverance. Without a doubt, I believe that perseverance is the key to success. For example, a game of volleyball. As long as the ball doesn’t touch the floor, you haven’t lost and there is still a chance to score another point. Similarly in life, there is always a possibility of achieving your vision as long as you never choose to give up. Persevere, and anything is possible.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?
Never give up. Persevere and reach for your vision. Here is one of my favorite quotes: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”