Venturer visualizes her wonderful web of Scouting connections

Character-driven TV shows like Lost slowly reveal the ways in which these seemingly disparate people have actually been connected all along.

And as Rachel Eddowes (third from the right in the photo above) recently discovered, the same is true in Scouting.

Perhaps the person with whom you taught a merit badge class served on Wood Badge staff with someone you know from volunteering at an OA ordeal weekend. The possibilities are endless.

Rachel, a supremely active Venturer, five-time National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) staffer and student at George Mason University recently decided to illustrate how the Scouting “characters” in her life know one another.

(Case in point: Though I’ve never met Rachel, my dad knows her from NAYLE.)

“Creating such a map was something I had wanted to do anyway — not with TV show characters, but with people I have met over the years through Scouting,” Rachel says. “I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to staff four NAYLE courses out at Philmont Scout Ranch (plus one at Sea Base). In addition to teaching and learning about leadership, I enjoyed making friends from across the country.”

With each additional staffing experience, Rachel reunited with friends or made new ones. Usually some would know of other friends she had made or people she knew through other Scouting experiences. The links continued on and on like a Scouting version of that Kevin Bacon game.

“Eventually a web of connections began to emerge with each ‘Do you know so-and-so?’ ‘Yeah! I know them!’ conversation,” she says.

On first glance, Rachel’s wonderful web looks like a haphazard jumble of lines. But follow a few of those lines, and you’ll see just how connected the characters in her Scouting world are. Check it out (click to enlarge):


The impressive illustration fulfilled a project requirement for a college computer art class, but as you can see, Rachel went above and beyond.

Rachel explains how to read the map:

  • Her name is at the top.
  • Each name is listed “in the order of appearance” (the approximate order that she met them) going clockwise. The map doesn’t list all the people she’s met through Scouting, mainly just those she knew had two or three connections to others she knew. She acknowledges that the map is possibly missing information or Scouting connections.
  • The key is on the right: each item listed is a Scouting event or grouping of Scouts
  • Each name is connected to other names via the color-coded event or grouping (strands were connected to one another in the form of branches to prevent too much cluttering).

Creating the map took Rachel about seven hours in the computer lab, and that doesn’t count the time spent organizing the information and planning how to display it.

Her final grade on the project shouldn’t surprise you: A.

“Scouting is something that I highly value,” Rachel says. “I value the different experiences I’ve had, the different life lessons I’ve learned, and the different people that I have met. It excites me to know that I am part of something that transcends borders and unites all types of people.”

An outlook like that deserves an A-plus.

11 thoughts on “Venturer visualizes her wonderful web of Scouting connections

  1. Have been in Scouting 35 years and have often thought about the friendships I have made all over the northeast, and now Kansas and New Mexico; and have also often thought about how to convey to others just exactly what an impact Scouting can make on your life and the life of others. And because my husband and I do a lot of traveling and have a “Scouting” license plate, we also have had folks come up to us – just to say they are also Scouters, or to thank us for what we are doing. Some people think we are crazy for giving so much time to Scouting. Now, I realize just exactly why we do it – not that we haven’t known the “real reason” all along! This is phenomenal! This young lady is going places!

    • It isn’t just in person connections either, There is the net connections as well and in the name of ScOUTING and SHARING. There is loads of HELPFUL stuff on the net and many of those links connect you to others. Some that have long gone still leave their legacy behind to be used again and again.

  2. It is amazing the connections you make in Scouting, all accross this country.

    I got involved in scouting for my grandson when he was a Tiger. Officially got registered when he became a Boy Scout, and watched him progress to Eagle, partly under the mentorship of Mr. Van Kleeck, at about 6:00 on the circle. One of the staffers in the Wood Badge course [SR-1009, Antelope Patrol] I took was Mrs. Moravec, about 10:00 on the circle. Scouting really, as she said, is ‘ “…something that transcends borders and unites all types of people.” ‘

    • note – the two people I mentione are from Sam Houston Area Council, quite a distance from George Mason University, although they are not strangers to Philmont

  3. I think there’s one youth between me and one of the names on her list! Which goes to show …

    1. Oh what a tangled web we weave.
    2. Venturers have boundary issues.

    Both in a good way.

  4. This whole idea makes me smile as this is not new to me. Being part of the Deaf Community, this ‘connection’ is all part of our introduction when we meet someone new. The Hearing Community introduces their names, about jobs, where they live and families while the Deaf Community starts with name, where they grew up, school attended (Deaf schools are like one a state) and Deaf people they know. It can take up to an hours just ‘introducing’ yourself with all that connectivity… *grins

    If you’re wondering the reason why the strong connectivity in our introductions, think back to the good ol’ days, travel, English being a second language and isolation. As much as phones were available, they weren’t for the Deaf community until TTY/TTD became affordable in the 1980’s. American Sign Language (ASL) has no written language so the strong grapevine was needed. Long before the world hit Sypking, we were already plugged into the visual connections with videophones. Hence the strong connectivity in introductions and knowing the powerful tool they are…*winka

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s