Service and Scouting

Bakersfield

The Eagle Scout Award is scouting’s highest rank.

It requires years of service and dedication to scouting and the community.

It is a difficult award for anyone to achieve, but for a local teenager on the autism spectrum, he said he’s come too far not to succeed.

“It’s been an essential part of my childhood and getting an Eagle Scout is confirmation for me, to prove that I can get something done. I can do this,” said James Fulfer.

James Fulfer, 16, has been a scout since he was six.

A member of Boy Scout Troop 194, scouting has made a tremendous impact on his life.

“Scouts is really sort of how Icame out of my shell, so to speak,” James Fulfer said.

“He’s learned leadership, he’s learned presentation skills, he’s learned money management skills. It’s really about life skills and all these fun outdoor activities are just the conduit by which we’re teaching them how to learn, how to lead and how to be a responsible member of society,” said Jeff Fulfer, James’ father.

James is a junior at Centennial High School.

As a teenager on the autism spectrum, this interview wasn’t easy for him.

“It is really difficult for me to talk to people. It’s difficult for me right now to be fair,” James Fulfer said.

That didn’t stop James.

‘For me a challenge is almost always an opprotunity to come up with a solution,” James Fulfer said.

A mentality he learned as a scout.

“Really there are some times that you have to put yourself forward and say I have to do this for everyone else’s sake,” James Fulfer

James is a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church where he attends mass with his family.

“My grandmother would come over to my family for Christmas. We would almost always go to Christmas Eve mass. I don’t think there’s been a year when we didn’t go. The last few years her mobility issues worsened and it came to a point where we would leave her at the traffic circle so we could find a place to park so she wouldn’t have to walk that far. It was at that moment that I realized it would actually be pretty nice if there was a bench for her to sit there,” James Fulfer said.

Months of work and fundraising later, James will soon be the reason for new benches outside of St. Elizabeth’s.

An act of kindness that will greatly help others and could help James earn an Eagle Scout Award.

Really, award or not, it seems James is already a top notch scout.

“If you don’t give them a chance to grow and flourish they probably are not going to be able to do it without that opportuntiy,” Jeff Fulfer said.

“If you want to go to scouts, give it a shot. I gave it a shot and it got me here. It’s been a wonderful part of my life and I’m glad that I made that decision and I hope that someone else who is interested will do it because you can accomplish something,” James Fulfer said.

James is wrapping up a few final details and hopes the benches will be installed by Christmas.

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