My name is Brandon Niday. As the latest addition to the Alamo Area Council BSA’s team, I would like to briefly describe my life experiences in relation to the Scouting movement, and reflect on how it has personally changed my life.
I began my Scouting journey as a Tiger cub of Pack 239 in Converse, Texas. My parents asked me then if I really wanted to make the time commitment to this newfound organization. I answered yes, still unaware of the benefits Scouting would have on me and my family.
I began exploring the outdoors at McGimsey Scout Park, even managing to catch a sizable catfish in the pond. Moving through the ranks of Cub Scouts, I began to develop a greater sense of duty to my fellow Scouts and to my community; that Scouts was more than just an extracurricular activity, but a community.
These beliefs persisted even after I had transitioned to Troop 512 in Schertz, Texas. Trips to Bear Creek Scout Reservation were always exciting, but also prompted self-reflection. I doubt I will ever forget the day of silent service at the Order of the Arrow induction—it transformed reciting the Scout Oath from mere words into an adherence of Scouting’s core themes: service and moral virtue, even in times of adversity.
However, when I became a sophomore in high school, I found that Scouting continued to occupy a considerable portion of my time—a coveted resource when grappling with a difficult course-load. My mother, who has witnessed and coached a myriad of Scouts during her time as Advancement Chair for Troop 512, explains that, “As you get older, your commitment to academic pursuits vies for your time. You want to be the most committed and involved as possible from ages 11 to 14.” Admittedly, I struggled fitting my Eagle Project and those last merit badges into my schedule. But I emerged from Scouting even more prepared than had I chosen to give up.
I chose to attend Trinity University, an institution dedicated to excellence and inclusion. There I study political science and economics; I hope to use the levers of policymaking to make constructive change in people’s lives. I also decided to continue this internship during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the traditional workplace setting only persists in a suspended state. After all, my internship is an extension of what Scouting was to me—a crash course in adaptability.