Fencersmother. You don't have to be qualified to speak your opinion on this post. Anyone is entitled to your opinion and you can create your path to success in the best way given to you. Like rkv said in the post above, his son made to USAFA with the best given opportunity available to him. And that's outstanding. It takes determination, creativity, and achievements, and leadership to accomplish what his son did.
I am not alone on this and you can look around throughout this site and many other sites and ask academy grads, academy sites, and experienced scouters, and they will tell you, one of the best leadership preparation for the academy is Scouting and for select few who can, do JROTC, if you have access to such programs. Why, because Scouting helps youths to grow up along the journey. From age 7-17, Scouting teaches you diverse life essential and a lot of trade craft skills, maturity, self help, citizenship, patriotism, technical skills, adversity, make mistakes and learn, and must perform leadership skills through the patrol method the EDGE Method which resembles the squad wing method in the military. Most importantly, the journey will demonstrate long term dedication and the needed time to mature and self reflect through mistakes and accomplishments shared with your peers. And finally the ultimate recognition, the Eagle Scout and or Summit Award.
For those who are serious about the Academy, Scouting is one of the best Prep to life, if your child is interested in the program and can enjoy and thrives in it, definitely should do it. Eagle Scout is highly respected every where. You can ask around and people will never shoot down an Eagle Scout. Scouting is global. Every country on this planet has one. It is more WoW Oh! That's great! When they know that you achieved your Eagle.
I started scouting under the leadership of many Academy grads. Many of my Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters were Eagle Scouts. I grew up in this environment. They made up the military ranks from Colonel to NCOs. Some were not Scouts but for those who were not, always said that they regret that they didn't do Scouting as a child. Often their sons are Eagle Scouts or working towards the rank. Most people see it as a good prep for the service and life in general.
You asked what qualifies me to speak. If it wasn't for the scouting experience, I feel that I will only be half as ready for the Academy experience, let alone a desire to attend. Of course I did everything else outside Scouting and excelled as well. Here are some of the things I accomplished.
I started prepping for Service Academies since age 11
GPA 94/100 Unweighted
My school does not rank
Attended Top 0.5% ranked school in the US, reported by the USNews. Average SAT at my school is 1400. About 5 students get perfect 1600 each year.
Learned Latin and 2 Modern Languages - Advanced Levels
Traveled through 10 countries. I went through 4 US passports.
175-295 Service Hours/year each year since 2011.
Quarterly Community Service Projects
4 Varsity Letters
Varsity Team Spirit Award
I'm a 1-dan in mixed martial arts
Captain/President of Marksmanship Club. I shot all types of weapons system, about 20+ including M4, AK, M240, SAW, M14 and many other vintage rifles and pistols. I can assemble and dissemble AR15, AK, M9. I've been shooting since age 8. Starting with Air Rifles.
Honor Guard - trained with the US Army Honor Guards and escorted commanding generals, Ambassadors, heads of states, Eagle Scouts at all Eagle Ceremonies sponsored in my district.
Published on Stars and Stripes for my flag service with Honor Guards
Summit Rank Award
Attended Harvard Summer 2016 by competitive selection
USAFA SEMINAR as MERIT SCHOLAR
USNA LOA in Sep
USCGA Early Action Appointment - on Nov 21
Winner of 4-Year Army ROTC National Scholarship - first board
Winner of 4-Year Air Force ROTC National Scholarship - first board
Navy ROTC National Scholarship - pending for review. I expect to receive the Navy Scholarship.
Earned 10 National Awards
10+ State/Intl Awards
I see your call sign as fencersmother. My father encouraged me to take up fencing throughout my youth but i didn't do it because I had interest in other things. Likewise he tried the same thing with my sister but she didn't want to take up fencing either. I enjoy doing endurance and Team sports. You need both types to develop character and positive spirit. Team sports is highly recommended as it develops team work and leadership. Individual sports develops dedication and personal excellence but lacks team spirit and team leadership and tactical and strategic skills you would learn in team sports.
I think I did something right during my childhood. Among all the valuable activities I did, Scouting will always have the lasting impact throughout my life. Because I will carry the skills and the lifetime title and recognition as an Eagle Scout. Achieving the Eagle Scout is now open to girls. My sister is working on hers.
Good luck to you all Candidates and Parents! I sincerely hope all of your family will find their paths to your goals. Like all things take one step at a time. There's no real short cut, all paths are special and unique.