Please critique. Thanks

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berto24
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:07 pm

Please critique. Thanks

Postby berto24 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:21 pm

His name is Austin.

Austin is a member of the middle school youth group at our church, where I volunteer. The group meets on Wednesday evenings and every summer attends an event called The Great Escape, which includes six days of games, community, food, worship, and friendship.

Each afternoon the kids are allowed three hours of free time. While the youth are busy with any number of camp activities, most counselors take a much-needed nap or drink coffee to fight heavy eyelids. Although I feel coffee is in the ranks of food, water, and shelter, naps are not particularly one of my favorite past times, so I can typically be found with the youth. This particular afternoon however, I decided to spend some time alone. I found a spot at the camp where I wasn't in the way and I set up a slack-line. A balance sport, slack-lining is much like walking a tightrope.

Austin approached in his normal fashion - with the grace of an elephant. His demeanor made it clear he was looking for me. We talked about the events of the afternoon, and I showed him how to balance on the slack-line. Slack-lining is a difficult sport to master, especially for someone like Austin, who, at thirteen years old, struggles learning how to make his man-sized body work. I felt a sense of pride in teaching Austin something original and helping instill in him a sense of self-confidence. The ironic element of pride, though, is that it often precedes humility, which I experienced when Austin shared the real reason he came to find me.

"Can you teach me how to shave?" Austin asked me as we were packing up the slack-line. Caught off-guard, I laughed a little, and enthusiastically agreed because I could sense how important it was to him. Austin was the first among the middle school boys to begin showing signs of maturity. He stands six feet tall, wears a size 11 shoe, and that summer, his first mustache appeared. The other kids had nicknamed him "squirrel boy" in reference to the fuzz on his top lip. Although he played along with the jokes, even encouraged them for the desire of the other kids' attention, it was obvious the mustache jokes were starting to sting.

As we walked back to the cabin and gathered the essential shaving supplies, Austin shared with me that he's never had a father figure in his life, and his mom wouldn't teach him to shave because she felt it was a man's job.

Over the following twenty minutes I taught Austin the art of shaving. As I showed him a task I find so rudimentary, I realized the significance of this time together. Austin chose me to be a teacher and a mentor in his life. He wanted me to be the man who could teach him things that were, as his mom told him, "a man's job."

Not long after we finished, the dinner bell rang. His excitement was contagious as we walked to the dining hall. I had never seen Austin as proud of himself as when he heard the collective gasp and ensuing praise from the other children for his clean-shaven look. That day taught me a lesson about my character: I find joy in helping others.

The passion to help others has led me to become involved in several additional community activities. In the spring of 2010, a small group of young people and I started an organization we call IdeAction. The purpose of IdeAction is simple: to promote our community and take an active role in making improvements where a need is identified. At first, the four founding members had a difficult task of finding like minded young people with the desire to improve our community. Our passion managed to encourage others, and within a short amount of time we had sixteen members contributing to our cause. With my friend Nat and I at the helm, this unrefined group quickly gained cohesive momentum and, in our first year, created a Saturday morning farmer's market in our local central park, established family-oriented entertainment events downtown every Friday night, and is now working on an online community calendar to further promote and enhance events in the area. The fundamental aspect of IdeAction is the action. When a member of IdeAction identifies a need within the community, the group immediately works toward addressing that need. Within my life, as within IdeAction, I aim to take a proactive approach to any problem or need I may encounter, and encourage others to do the same.

In January, I will be ordained as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. As an Elder, I am charged with serving as a leader of the congregation on the Session Board. The Elders are responsible for overseeing and approving church committees, activities, and finances. Being nominated for this position in a 1,000-member congregation is an honor. It is also an opportunity and a responsibility. I will have the opportunity to learn and share with older, wiser Session members, and share the collective responsibility of serving our congregation through the decisions we make.

A duty to responsibility, a proactive attitude, and a serving heart have formed my identity to this point. I now look forward to gaining a legal education to enhance my character in the ultimate pursuit of helping others, like Austin, in their times of need.

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berto24
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:07 pm

Re: Please critique. Thanks

Postby berto24 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:12 pm

anyone?

LSATclincher
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: Please critique. Thanks

Postby LSATclincher » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:52 pm

While a a nice little story, all mentioning of Austin can be executed in about a sentence. Stick to discussing YOU. It seems you have some neat experience, but we didn't learn that until the third-to-last para.

Nospherato
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Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:49 pm

Re: Please critique. Thanks

Postby Nospherato » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:21 pm

I learned a great deal about Austin, but less about you than him. I agree with the above quote, I think it'd be great if you could expand a little more about yourself :)

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berto24
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:07 pm

Re: Please critique. Thanks

Postby berto24 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:55 am

Thank you for the feedback. I will definitely cut down the story about Austin and expand on discussion about myself.

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Please critique. Thanks

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:05 am

In contrast to the above posters, I learned a lot about you from your discussion of Austin.




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