Drew Carlson is an Eagle Scout from Troop 835, chartered to VFW Post 9565 in Broomfield. His path in Scouting started the way many do, Drew was invited to a “Join Night” when he was in second grade. He attended with his father, Dave, and it wasn’t until the car ride home where Drew made his interest known, asking his Dad if he had left a check with the Scout leader because Drew wanted to be a Scout. That became the beginning of Drew’s amazing journey, as a Wolf Cub Scout with his parents along for the ride.
After attending some Cub Scout meetings, Drew decided on his own, along with a close friend, that he was going to earn the Eagle Scout rank. Never once pushed by his parents, he quickly became a very dedicated Scout.
Drew was encouraged and supported by his father, Dave who became active as a volunteer, starting out as a Den Leader and later became more involved as a Cubmaster. Once Drew joined Troop 835, Dave became the Assistant Scoutmaster and eventually the Scoutmaster. At this point Drew was well on his path to Eagle, and Dave was putting in more hours in Scouting than his own career. Drew also received strong support at home from his mother, Janay, and his older sister, Emily.
This may sound like a typical Scouting story, but Drew’s journey has another layer. From the earliest parts of his life, Drew experienced a number of issues that manifested in delayed physical, intellectual, speech and behavioral development. He has had several minor, non-life-threatening surgeries and has been enrolled in special education since Kindergarten, as well as going through Occupational and Developmental therapy.
The family pursued many options to find answers, but it was not until age 13 when an endocrinologist finally helped diagnose Drew with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome (RTS). RTS is a mutation in one or more genes and the degree of developmental issues can vary widely; Drew appears to have been blessed at the high-functioning spectrum of the condition.
Drew found his “community” in Scouting, a place where he could get involved in a program that required physical activity, helped build friendships, taught leadership skills and developed good character and morals. It allowed him to participate in Duty to God and to help other people through service. Scouting provided him a program to be involved with his Dad and Mom and have the guidance of positive adult mentors. Dave shares about the impact of Scouting on Drew, “[In Scouting] he was always approached like any other kid, and not special needs. No other place allowed for that type of reaction. He was a bright kid, with a bright future, but Scouts helped define that road.”
Drew earned his Eagle Scout in 2016 – having completed his leadership service project for the Conifer Cemetery through a restoration and construction effort. This project had such an impact on him that Drew and his family still visit the cemetery once a month to provide upkeep and continuous beautification. When asked, “what is the most important thing Scouting has done for you?” Drew responds with, “I never gave up or give up and I am determined to reach my goals. I am not sure even my Mom and Dad thought, with my history, that I would make the Honor Roll at High School or go to College, but I have, and I am going to Front Range Community College next year and I want to keep on going.” Drew’s long-term vision is to become an entrepreneur and own an ice-cream shop, which he already has the name for, “Drew Scoops!”