Encouraged by his grandfather to learn more about the world around him, Grant Hofmann joined scouting in elementary school and along the way grew to understand the importance of being self-sufficient and tenacious, and the value of working hard to make a difference.
As his experience at Liberty Hill High School winds down, the 18-year-old scout recently earned the rank of Eagle following completion of a project at Tejas Camp at Lake Georgetown — a US Army Corp of Engineers park.
Hofmann worked with the Lake Manager to design a blueprint for an above-ground wooden box that holds 10 trash cans. The purpose of the structure was to make it more difficult for wildlife to access trash and protect the park from fly-away litter.
Assisted by scouts from Liberty Hill Troop 196, Hofmann dug potholes, built the structure on stilts and set the stilts into concrete.
“Trash cans there were becoming harder to spot and wildlife got into them. After heavy rain storms, the cans were often washed away,” Hofmann said. “We came up with a design that met the needs of all those problems, obtained the materials to build it and had an excellent turnout (of scouts) to work, and we built it in about eight hours.”
Hofmann, who has been accepted at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, said his experience in scouting made him a better person.
“When all is said and done, this has been an excellent learning experience and helped me to develop a work ethic,” he said. “There’s something special about being asked to take control of a project, collaborate with others on it, and then have people come out to cooperate to see it through.”
Hofmann said a backpacking trip in the summer of his freshman year in high school helped shape him. He was among a group of Texas scouts who trekked 70 miles in 11 days in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
“We learned how to function as responsible human beings and gained value for what’s around us,” he recalled. “It was about learning to be sufficient and self-sustaining. Today, we are so completely tied down to phones and other modern distractions that we’ve come to count on to do things for us. That experience changed me.”
Hofmann, who will graduate in June, said scouting is a valuable experience that fosters leadership, independence and work ethic. The Liberty Hill troop has tripled in size in recent years, attracting boys who are enthusiastic about scouting.
After obtaining the highest rank possible, Hofmann is now registered as an adult leader. While he can’t be sure what lies ahead for him in college and beyond, he said he would like to continue to volunteer with the organization. He credited his grandfather, James Slack, for helping him see the value in scouting and for encouraging him to stay with it as he got older and became involved in other school activities. Hofmann chose his grandfather to receive his mentor award.
But it was his parents, John and Shannon Hofmann, who taught him “to finish what I start. I’ve always been pretty self-governing, but quitting something has never been an option. My parents also taught me not to settle for anything less than what I was capable of. They’ve always been behind me and I’m blessed to have them.”
Hofmann said he is considering pursuing an MBA in marketing, but is still exploring his options at UT’s business school. He will be a freshman there in the fall. Fueled by a lifelong interest in art, advertising and marketing have always been fields of interest to him.
In fact, throughout his high school career, Hofmann has been the go-to student for T-shirt designs for band and cross country — two of his extra-curricular activities. Utilizing an artist table, he created eye-catching designs in Photoshop that were then used on high school band show shirts in the fall — the latest one being for the marching show featuring the music of the rock band Queen.
Hofmann was also asked to redesign a logo for a home-based company that sells locally-made products to stores like Monument Market in Georgetown.
He said with every project, he has learned something more about marketing and business. Ten years from now, he said he would like to be on his way to ownership of a company that has some connection to the entertainment industry.
For a high-achieving young man with big dreams, Hofmann said he is being careful not to nail down a career plan so early.
“Sometimes I take things too seriously,” he said. “I want to take a little time and explore some options.”
Hofmann, who has served two years as section leader for trumpets in the band, said his experience in Liberty Hill schools has been a positive one.
“This is a small community that cares a lot about its kids,” he said. “And the quality of education we have in some departments is good, but my friends have challenged and encouraged me. We are a strong group and can compete (with each other) without being bitter rivals. They have helped to make me more disciplined than I would be on my own.
“I feel like I don’t display the gratitude often enough,” he said, referring to the support he has received through the years from family, teachers and fellow students. “There have been a lot of contributions and teaching moments.”