At the age of 18, Scott Yarbrough has already helped save lives, survived a flash flood and climbed a glacier.
"Not a lot of people can say that," he said.
Yarbrough, a 2007 graduate of Stone Bridge High School, credits one thing in his life with giving him opportunities not readily available to other teens: the Boy Scouts.
"There is just so much you get from it that you never would get otherwise," he said.
Starting in the Scouts when he was in the first grade, the earliest he could join, was a natural decision for Yarbrough. Every member of his family is involved in Scouting.
"Everyone in this house is a registered Scouter," Yarbrough’s mother, Barb Yarbrough, said.
For Yarbrough it was less about joining in a family tradition than it was about following in his big brother’s footsteps.
"I saw what Steven was doing and I said, ‘That looks like a lot of fun,’" Yarbrough said. "And I just stuck with it."
YARBROUGH "STUCK" WITH Scouting and took advantage of every opportunity the Boy Scouts made available to him, earning every honor it bestows. In 2004, he became an Eagle Scout, the highest ranking in the organization. For more than five years he has been a member of the Order of the Arrow, the Scout equivalent of the National Honors Society, reaching the third, and highest, level of Vigil.
"You are selected [for the Vigil level] and there are a very limited number of Scouts selected," Joe Callen, Yarbrough’s Order of the Arrow advisor, said. "You are recognized not because of what you have done specifically, but everything you do and everything you are."
In addition, Yarbrough served as chapter chief for the Goose Creek chapter and last year served as area chief for the five Virginia West chapters.
"We are very proud of him," Barb Yarbrough said. "You have to get elected to the position by your fellow Scouts."
YARBROUGH ALSO USED his experience in the Boy Scouts to guide him outside of his troop and has been rewarded for his efforts. He was recently named the Virginia Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Eagle Scout of the Year and earned the Dr. Juergen Reinhardt Scout scholarship.
Yarbrough said he was surprised when he earned the two honors.
"I didn’t really know anyone else who was applying for them," he said. "I knew what I had done, but I didn’t know what everyone else had done."
It was the Scouts too, that brought Yarbrough to Virginia Tech, where he plans to use his two scholarships to study architecture. During a Boy Scout summer camp in southern Virginia, Yarbrough visited the nearby Virginia Tech campus with his father.
"I just really liked the feel of it," he said.
While Yarbrough is focusing on architecture for now, he is not sure what the future will bring him.
"The Scouts gave me an expanded knowledge of so many things," he said. "From every day skills to learning about family life, engineering and architecture."
THOSE THAT KNOW Yarbrough best said they have seen how the Scouts have helped shape him into the person he is.
"I have seen him mature and take on some very big responsibilities," Callen said. "He’s very outgoing now and very engaging. He has drive and he has no qualms about taking on a leadership position and leading by example."
Barb Yarbrough said she has also been impressed by her son’s level of maturity and the way he leads other Scouts in his troops.
"The young boys just really seem to like Scott a lot," she said. "He’s so approachable and they look up to him."
For Yarbrough, Scouting has been more about the experiences and how it has prepared him for the future.
"It has given me so many skills; it has given me so many values," he said. "I think it made me a better person. There is just so much you can get for it."