Many view being a part of Boy Scouts as a hobby to do while you’re young.
For Desert Vista High School senior David Zumwalt, he views it as a commitment he’s passionate about and loves to be a part of.
Zumwalt has been affiliated with Boy Scouts for nearly eight years, but before entering the club he was in Cub Scouts, which is the lower level before Boy Scouts.
His determination and passion for being a Boy Scout resonates with each word being uttered about his involvement, and clearly he found what he loves to do.
The passion he has for the club led him to be the 41st national recipient of the Boy Scouts of America National Medal for Outdoor Achievement, the highest recognition a Boy Scout can receive.
Zumwalt heard about the award through Boys Life Magazine, which Boy Scouts publish.
He found the requirements needed to receive the award and began completing them.
Initially when Zumwalt found out he was awarded the medal it came as a surprise, an achievement which hasn’t fully set in yet.
“I’m very proud of it, it’s been an excellent experience and a fun path,” Zumwalt said.
As of right now Zumwalt’s main focus is completing his Eagle Scout project where he’s repairing a stone start at a site on South Mountain, along with cleaning up the area.
He has been working on the project for more than a year.
While completing his Eagle Scout project, Zumwalt has been working with the Arizona Historic Society to get some litigation completed.
Throughout his time with the Boy Scouts, Zumwalt has been fortunate to be involved with different activities teaching him an array of skills.
He recently returned from a trip to Geronimo camp, near Payson, where he staffed at the camp teaching others how to work with metal.
During his time at the camp he said he had an excellent experience where he would instruct about 40 kids a week to help them obtain the metal work merit badge.
He also recently returned from a 74-mile hike at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, where he learned how to handle different weapons.
“Various camps have different programs, and the program had to deal with shooting. They also showed us how to reload and that’s like taking the empty cartridge, trimming it up, putting a new primmer, putting more powder in, putting the bullet in and then we got to shoot the rounds we made,” Zumwalt said.
What’s excited him about his scouting experience has always been different.
“In the beginning it was more of the initial getting to know everything and learning the ropes, and more or less getting it done. Getting down all the skills and not just knowing them but understanding them, being able to teach them and being able to teach the next set of scouts,” Zumwalt said. “It’s been really fun all the way through.”
He has become a seasoned scout throughout the years, obtaining 49 merit badges in different areas such as metal work, first-aid, camping and shotgun shooting.
When asked which merit badge is his favorite, Zumwalt did not hesitate to say shotgun shooting.
It was a fun experience for him to be able to handle the weapon, but the most memorable part of the experience for him was being taught by two Olympic shooters.
Before shooting a couple rounds off, Zumwalt read the manual that was given out to better prepare him while handing the weapon.
The Olympic shooters were impressed with Zumwalt on how much he already knew prior to handling the shotgun.
While trying to get his shotgun shooting merit badge each scout was to shoot 30 out of 50 clay targets, and Zumwalt took down an impressive 47.
Being that Zumwalt is still in high school, he has to prioritize his time accordingly to be able to perform in both his studies and scouting to the best of his abilities.
He said for his senior year at DV his schedule isn’t too intense, allowing him more time to focus on scouting.
Zumwalt said it’s extremely difficult to pick one aspect he favors the most from Boys Scouts, but enjoys spreading the skills he’s learned throughout the years he has been in the program.
“I just love this experience and I want others to have the same experience, too,” Zumwalt said.
His mother, Ann Zumwalt, said scouting is a right fit for her son because he shows passion towards the program.
She said that the hardest part about having her son being involved with Boy Scouts is letting go of the motherly reins because she enjoys being with him.
However, she’s extremely proud of the person her son has become, and the best part of the whole Boy Scout experience is seeing a smile on his face.
“It’s fun watching him enjoy his skill. He’s just passionate about things and it’s been neat to see that.”
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