At first glance, Emily Goelzer seems to be your average ORU student: talented, smart, and destined to change the world. But there is more to her than just her amazing talents and grades. The senior International Relations major is a part of Venturing, a program within the Boy Scouts of America that involves boys and girls from the ages of fourteen to twenty-one.
Goelzer’s interest in “scouting,” as she calls it, began when her two older brothers, Nathan and Matthew, were initiated into the Boy Scouts of America. They enjoyed hiking, camping, and climbing, all without her.
“For the longest time I prayed God would make me a boy because I saw them having so much fun,” she said.
To some, the obvious alternative would’ve been Girl Scouts, but her dismissal of the program was quick. “I tried, but there weren’t as many adventures and activities,” she said.
When Goelzer heard about the Venturing program, she counted down the days until she was fourteen years old and could join the same program as her brothers. It was a dream come true for her, but it wasn’t without adversity. Support from her family and friends encouraged her despite the difficulties she faced.
She is more than a simple success story about beating the odds; her story has grown into one of exceeding her own expectations.
Goelzer joined the staff in the National Youth Leadership Training Program, the National Leadership Program and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience, all because of a connection she made through a chance meeting.
“It’s been amazing how God has brought me through this past year,” she gushed. “I could not have planned it; I started out doing activities within a crew of six people, and then became its president for about a year.”
A sparkle comes into Goelzer’s eyes, and her expressive gestures become even more animated when she talks about her passion for leadership. It’s easy to see how much she loves this part of her life—even in the devotion of hours of her day beyond her demanding school obligations and social life.
The heart of the organization became clear to Goelzer when she joined the team.
“I became part of the staff of the International Leadership Course, where all of the Boy Scout organizations within the Western Hemisphere meet. Really, the heart of what scouting is within the entire world is to empower the youth. A lot of people have this perception of the Boy Scouts, but it’s so much more than that. I think that’s what a lot of people miss,” Goelzer said.
The organization was more than just a chance to show everyone how she could succeed in a field where she fought to excel; to her, it was a chance to prove if she set her mind to it, then she could do it.
“I’m only here to compete against myself. I’m here to push my own bar higher and higher. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Only aim to beat yourself,” she advised.