Leadership Lessons from an 18-Year-Old

Date Posted: 2/28/2013

Leaders come in all shapes, sizes -- and ages. Their clear focus and goal-centered  passion naturally inspires others to catch the vision.


From a young age, Barrett Besser was focused on two goals: becoming an Eagle Scout and serving in the U.S. military. On Sunday, February 10, he attained the first goal. A longtime member of Boy Scout Troop 65, chartered to his home church of Wesley UMC in Beaumont, Barrett was honored at a special Eagle Scout ceremony for serving as a leader in his troop, earning 21 merit badges, and for completing a very special community service project.


Barrett’s service project was a major undertaking, but one with tremendous personal significance that benefitted the children’s ministry of Wesley UMC, where his father, Rev. Robert Besser serves as senior pastor. His project took six months to complete and involved the coordination of over 70 volunteers. In memory of his mother, Rev. Pam Besser, who lost her battle with cancer on Christmas Day, 2012, Barrett renovated a classroom into a kid-friendly environment called “Pam’s Place.”


“My mom was the Children’s Minister at Wesley UMC,” he says, “so this new space will be a testament to the joy she brought to the lives of everyone she met. Kids for years to come will learn and grow in God’s love in this new area.”


The project offered new lessons in leadership. “In scouts and in this renovation, I was reminded leaders are responsible for others and must plan for that. I learned more about recruiting volunteers and I felt my confidence strengthen throughout the entire process,” Barrett says. Additionally, he learned project management skills and how to be flexible when addressing the unexpected. “I am just thankful for all the hands-on assistance, donations and helpers in the process, and thankful for the opportunity to give back to my church.”


Barrett, a senior at Hardin-Jefferson High school, plans to participate in ROTC at a Texas college as a stepping-stone toward his next life goal. After receiving his degree, he plans to pursue a career in the US Army.