The mountains are calling, and I must go.” The words of John Muir are an accurate summation of Josiah Newman’s enthusiasm for spending time in the great outdoors.
At age fifteen, Josiah is well on his way to accomplishing an impressive resume. With scouting, camping, traveling, church involvement, school work, and music on the agenda, he finds a variety of ways to occupy his time. Also, Josiah and his musical family have been entertaining audiences for several years. Oh and incidentally, he just happens to be a champion banjo player in his spare time.
For many years, I have been blessed and inspired by Josiah and his wonderful family, and I hope you enjoy reading about this funny, low-key, laid back exceptional teen.
A: I first heard about my Boy Scout troop when one of my friends invited me to his Eagle Scout ceremony. I was eleven at the time. I saw all the things the troop did and was really interested in going on all the trips. Camping was a big part of their activities, and since I had never been camping before, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun.
Q: When and how often do you go to Boy Scout camp? Walk us through a week at camp. Tell us what types of activities you do, and what you learn from going to camp.
A: Our troop goes on a camping trip every month and to scout camp every summer in June. To keep from going to the same camp every year, we rotate between three different camps and on the fourth year, we go to one we have never been to. At scout camp, I usually take several merit badge classes, ranging from communications to rifle shooting. There are lots of games, challenges, and other fun activities. It’s a great place to learn new skills and meet new friends.
A: An Eagle Scout must complete at least 21 merit badges, and do a minimum of 100 hours on a community service project. Obtaining Eagle Scout requires leadership skills, patience, courage, and a good work ethic. I am currently a Star Scout which is two ranks from Eagle. The next step for me to achieve is Life Scout, and then I begin working on my Eagle Scout rank.
Q: What is your favorite outdoor activity? How often do you get to participate in it?
A: My favorite outdoor activity is camping with friends. John Muir said, “The world’s big and I want to have a look at it before it gets dark.” I agree with that, and I also love to see it after dark. I love to just get together with my friends, sleep under the stars, and be outdoors like we were created to be.
The world’s big and I want to have a look at it before it gets dark.
I get to go on a scout trip every month, and I often participate in other outdoor adventures by myself or with other friends. I also am interested in learning and practicing outdoor and wilderness survival skills.
Q: When and how did you become interested in playing the banjo, mandolin, and violin? What musical awards have you won?
A: I was six years old when I showed an interest in playing the banjo. My parents bought me a small travel banjo and I began taking lessons. Violin came next, and then from my knowledge of the violin, I picked up the mandolin. I am currently teaching myself to play the guitar. I also play the banjo in our church’s praise band. When I was eleven, I won a national banjo competition in Smithville, Tennessee
Q: What are some of your other passions and interests?
A: As of recently, I have become interested in exercising, particularly doing a mix of cardio and anaerobic exercises without using weights. I also love to go fishing at the creek that runs through our property.
Q: What is your favorite place you have ever been on vacation? Why was it particularly special to you, and will you return?
A: My favorite vacation was to Charleston, South Carolina. I loved touring the historic sites and eating local food. I loved the seafood, especially the shrimp, and enjoyed touring downtown Charleston and Fort Moultrie. I plan on returning sometime in the future.
Q: I know you just finished your freshman year of high school, and you have been home schooled since kindergarten. How has home schooling impacted your educational experiences? What do you feel is your greatest advantage from being home schooled?
A: I think homeschooling has an advantage because you get to learn at your own pace. If I am struggling in a subject, I can slow down and better understand it before I continue, or if I am better at a subject, I can breeze through it and then move on to something else. Homeschooling also teaches you to stay with a project or a task until you are completely finished with it.
Q: What is coming up for you during your remaining high school years? What are your plans for college and career after you graduate from high school? Will scouting play a role in your adult life?
A: My plan is to survive high school and then attend Western Kentucky University. I plan to either major in criminology or military science. I plan to either join the military or go into law enforcement. Scouting plays a big role in military and law enforcement careers, as it trains you in outdoor skills, first aid, leadership skills, and handling emergency situations, among other things.
What a treat to read all about Josiah’s scouting activities, his Eagle Scout goals, and all of his outdoor fun! I always marvel at the depth and variety of interests one person can have, and the skill he can develop in all of them. I love the fact that Josiah is really into his outdoor activities, but still has time to devote to his music.
Based on his track record, I’m sure Josiah will do a lot more than just “survive” high school. His goals for a career in military service or law enforcement are certainly noble, and I know we all wish him the very best, and thank him for his desire to serve his country and his fellow citizens. I, for one, am thankful for the ambitions of this exceptional teen!
Do you have an exceptional teen?
If you have or know of a teen who is exceptional – whether it be in school with academics, music talent, sports, heroic deeds, community service, or anything else that would make them stand out – I want to hear about it!
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me a little bit about your situation. Give a quick sentence or two about why your teen is exceptional. I will be in touch with you with an emailed list of interview questions your teen can answer and send back to me. The world needs to know there are wonderful kids out there doing outstanding, praiseworthy activities. I would love to feature your exceptional teen.
Also, leave a comment in the section below if you enjoyed reading about Josiah.
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