Eagle Scout Greg Tull credits the life skills he learned in Scouting for enabling him to persevere through various life challenges, including competing on season three of “Lego Masters.”
For Greg Tull, failure is an opportunity for growth.
The Eagle Scout from Boy Scout Troop 54 in Sedalia, Missouri, recently made it to the semifinals of season three of the reality show “Lego Masters” as part of a two-person team with his brother and fellow Eagle Scout, Brendan. Despite being eliminated from the show during the semifinal, Tull views the duo’s fourth-place finish through the mentality of a glass “half-full.”
“It’s like breaking your ankle at mile 25 of a marathon and not getting to cross the finish line,” said Tull, who earned the rank of Eagle Scout at age 15 in November 2009. “It’s tough. But failures, or at least perceived failures, don’t define you — they can redefine you. What a failure does is it teaches you something that enables you to go and meet the next challenge in life in a better way than the previous one.”
Tull, who is also a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and current member of the Coast Guard Reserve, credits both his Scouting and military experiences with preparing him to have the skills needed to adequately face the challenges he encountered throughout the Lego Masters competition, from the highs of overcoming adversity to win the brothers’ first challenge in episode five with their Boston terrier build, to the lows of having “creative roadblocks” that Tull feels contributed to their elimination from the show in episode 12.
“The character traits, the attributes, the discipline and the problem-solving skills I got from Scouting and the military, combined with the support through my church and my excellent parents is a huge part of what has enabled me to excel in various areas of life,” Tull said. “It also allowed me to develop the right kind of attributes for doing well on Lego Masters, such as handling stress, problem solving in real time and handling a very demanding production schedule, like working 14- 16-hour days, five days a week, while sometimes having little sleep.”
Love for nature and the outdoors
Tull’s time in Scouting also strengthened his love for nature and the outdoors, as evidenced by his three favorite things from his time in Scouting — caving, rock climbing and wilderness survival.
“Wilderness survival was something I especially enjoyed doing, and something I leaned into a bit more because we had some pretty good wilderness survival campouts in my troop,” Tull said. “For instance, we took a daypack and three implements like a knife or a fire starter, plus a coffee can worth of food, and we had to fend for ourselves with a minimal number of materials for a whole weekend — not even with the regular things we typically had available at summer camp such as tents and camp stoves. Instead, we were forced to rely upon our own skills and wits, along with basic tools, and interact with nature.”
Tull’s love for the outdoors also inspires the nature-oriented landscape scenes he creates for his stop-motion animation studio, Monitogo Studios LLC, which specializes in brickfilm, or animation using Legos. Stop-motion animation is the process of taking a picture of a still object, or multiple still objects, moving them fractions of an inch at a time, and then taking another picture. That process repeats over and over hundreds or thousands of times, depending on the length of the video or film.
One of Tull’s brickfilms took six years to complete.
“Doing landscapes is something I love to do in Lego, because you’re talking about taking organic forms, kind of beautiful, raw wild things and trying to render them in a brick system, which doesn’t lend itself to that sort of building.,” Tull said. “So, I love that challenge of utilizing it in an unconventional fashion.”
The overarching values of Scouting, such as the Scout Oath and Scout Law, are cleverly woven into the storylines of Tull’s brickfilms.
“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” Tull said. “These are attributes I think any good person should attain. One of the things I’m always trying to do in my storytelling is call people to a higher standard of living, such as to responsibility, to ownership, to discipline, to heroism, to honor and to truth. So, the very ideas that I can pull out of something like the Scout Oath and Law are the kinds of things that I want to convey through my storytelling to encourage people to strive towards.”
The practical life skills, such as leadership and problem solving, especially in the context of team dynamics, is what Tull appreciates the most about his time in Scouting.
“Scouting’s a great place to start formulating these life skills because there’s stress and there’s pressure, but it’s all within a controlled environment,” Tull said. “For instance, waking up with four inches of water in the bottom of your tent and you and all your gear is soaked, or you’re on a winter klondike and having trouble keeping your feet warm. Certainly, the skills I learned in Scouting gave me a leg up as I became an adult, went into the workforce and joined the military because as an adult, I’ve encountered the more extreme versions of the same types of things — problem solving with team dynamics, learning discipline and hard work and learning to overcome challenges.”
By Eric Stann