Natalie MacEwan, the 2017-2018 Western Region Area 4 Venturing president, has been named a national finalist for a Wendy’s High School Heisman.

The award, presented in conjunction with the Heisman Memorial Trophy for the top player in college football, recognizes outstanding high school student-athletes from across the country.

Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, himself a high school dropout, created the High School Heisman. He wanted to celebrate the outstanding achievements of young people who give back to their communities, treat people with respect, excel in education and succeed on the athletic field.

Top 10 in the country

Natalie is a senior at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, Calif. In school she has a 4.5 GPA and plays volleyball and water polo. In Venturing, she has served multiple leadership roles since joining in 2015.

Natalie was named a state-level winner in October. One male and one female from each state — 100 students in all — earned this honor.

That group of 100 was cut to 10 national finalists. As a national finalist, Natalie receives a $5,000 college scholarship and an invitation to the Heisman weekend in New York City. She also gets a gold medal and — perfect for someone in Scouting — a High School Heisman patch.

National winners, one male and one female, will be announced during Heisman weekend. The winners each get a $10,000 college scholarship, a trophy and recognition during ESPN’s Heisman broadcast.

Natalie will learn whether she’s a national winner on Dec. 8.

Eager to join Scouting

A self-proclaimed “tomboy,” Natalie watched her dad and brother enjoy first Cub Scouting and then Boy Scouting.

“I began to wait anxiously for the day I would turn 14 and be able to join a program of my own: Venturing,” she wrote on her council’s Venturing page last year.

She wasn’t officially enrolled, but Natalie was definitely involved. She served as an unofficial den chief, staffed Cub Scout parents’ weekend for nine years, volunteered at Cub Scout day camp, placed flags on gravestones on Memorial Day, and volunteered at countless Eagle projects and other service projects.

In 2015, her dream of being a BSA member became a reality. Soon after, she was elected crew president of the resurrected Venturing Crew 22.

She’s made the most of her time in Scouting. She went on a backpacking trek at Philmont, attended VenturingFest 2016 and served on staff at the 2017 National Jamboree.

“Since becoming involved in Scouting, I have seen myself grow as an individual by embodying the Scout Oath and Law, facing and overcoming new challenges, taking on new positions of leadership, working in cooperative and positive environments, doing things I would never have dreamed I could do, and ultimately becoming a better and stronger person,” Natalie writes. “I strongly believe in the Venturing program and want to continue to work towards strengthening our crews, councils, areas, regions and essentially the program as a whole.”

Thanks to Matthias Leier of the Western Los Angeles County Council for the tip.

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