Skip to comments.Boy Scout renovating fort trails for his Eagle Scout project
Posted on 12/05/2005 4:44:29 PM PST by SandRat
FORT HUACHUCA At 14, Daniel Rich is one part site supervisor and another part worker.
The Buena High School ninth-grader needs to be both, as he leads and does labor that hopefully will earn him the rank of Eagle Scout, as a member of Boy Scout Troop 431.
Sunday, Daniel had the support of others from his Fort Huachuca troop, a couple of scouts from Troop 444 in Sierra Vista, family members, friends and soldiers from Company B, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion and Headquarters Company of the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade in renovating trails on the posts Heritage Park.
The more than 40-acre park is where Capt. Samuel Marmaduke Whitside and his small cavalry detachment camped in 1877.
Whitside described the camp site as where a lively stream ran with pure cold mountain water.
In 1999, the site became Heritage Park, to honor the first place that went from a small detachment camp to todays more than 70,000 acre Fort Huachuca.
The historical significance of the area is longer than I have lived, Daniel said.
Although trails were constructed in 1999, they have deteriorated in the past half dozen years, and the need to work on the more than more than two miles of foot paths is evident.
For his project, Daniel has taken on a half-mile of the trail network.
Although Huachuca Creek no longer runs year-round, bringing the pure cold mountain water described by Whitside, the need to maintain the area is something Troop 431 has taken on to help scouts soar into becoming Eagles.
Monsoons have caused grass to grow, covering some of the trails.
And, during heavy rain storms, rushing water has moved rocks and debris over the paths.
Drought has caused trees to die and fall on to some parts of the path network.
Reestablishing the trails requires the combination of back-bending work involving shovels, axes and some mechanical equipment.
I have to supervise and work, Daniel said.
Reaching Eagle Scout is not just coming up with a project and directing how it will be done but requires doing work as well, he added.
Some parts of the original path needed widening, and he spoke with Staff Sgt. Amy Kurtz, who had some soldiers of Company B, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, saying he wanted stones that were the edge of part of a path moved further out. Kurtz, a drill sergeant, and other soldiers who are students at the Intelligence Center volunteer to help with projects on the post.
Mulch for the pathway comes from the post and was spread around the renovated parts of the trails by people using rakes.
Troop 431 Assistant Scoutmaster David Tyler, who is a sergeant major with the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, said the troop wants to be part of the parks upkeep.
Weve kind of adopted Heritage Park, he said.
Years ago, before the park was established, the area was used by scouts as a camp site.
For Daniel, perhaps eventually the area again can be a scout camp site.
It would fit in with what happened 128 years ago when Whitside and his detachment camped under the cottonwoods and sycamores, as pure cold water from the mountains flowed past them.
Once and Eagle, always an Eagle!
Good story! Best of luck to the young men.
The Eagle Scout project is one of the most ingenious requirements in existance.
The project is designed to make an Eagle candidate learn to plan a project, work with the project beneficiaries, work with a Scouter to whom the project must be explained in detai an then approved.And lastly he must somehow find and motivate Scouts or friends to do the work for free.
The Eagle candidate learns the frustrations of dealing with others, especially older others who aren't his mother and who must be delt with on their terms. He learns the lessons that people often fail to do what they say they will do and constant monitoring is necessary to keep things on track.
Some troops approve projects where the candidate does all himself, eliminating the valuable leadership lessons. Some troops approve projects that are too broad in scope and tax the resources too highly.
When done properly though, the Eagle Project is a fantastic opportunity to evelop a great set of leadership skills. Very few individuals ever have such an opportunity and especially not as a teen.
As a Scoutmaster (and a former Council Commissioner and you name it), I must admit my first response is to cringe when I heard the age "14" and the phrase "Eagle Scout" in the same sentence.
Before I am completely flamed, there are many young men who have the maturity to complete an Eagle Project at fourteen. A significant percentage of them would probably have learned more about themselves and about inspiring and managing their peers had they waited two years to work on their Eagle Project. Few non-Scouters realize what is involved in the Project and don't know that a major part of the project is planning, convincing others to underwrite the cost (you can't pay for it yourself), and inspiring your peers to donate their time and labor (the work of adults, including the Staff Sgt. shown in the picture, doesn't count toward the Scout's necessary peer support hours), among other elements.
Most fourteen year-old men are not mature enough to learn fully the lessons of an Eagle Scout project.
There are several reasons for fourteen year-old Eagle Scouts. In some cases, the young men are self-driven. In many cases, the fourteen year-old Eagle Scouts are driven by parents. I've seen more than my share of Eagle Projects by fourteen year-olds that are essentially the projects of parents; something the Troop Committee and/or the Scoutmaster should notice and stop. In other cases, there are Troops that push young men to make Eagle by fourteen or fifteen (on the theory that otherwise they'll lose 'em to fumes - car fumes and perfumes).
For fifty+ years, the percentage of Scouts who reached the rank of Eagle remained at 2%, give or take a tenth of a percentage point. In the last few years, and I mean just a very, very few years, the percentage has hit or exceeded 4% in part because of parental and unit pressures (and, in my opinion, a general weakening of the Troop Committe and Council approval standards for Eagle Scout projects). LDS unit percentages exceed the 4% mark, in part because of the tie between their church youth program and Scouting.
One excuse given for fourteen year-old Eagles is that they can then be leaders within the Troop. Bull hockey. They can be leaders wearing their heart-shaped Life Scout patch.
Most fourteen year-old Eagle Scouts who truly embrace the Scouting Spirit stay in the Troop until their 18th birthday. They would have learned more from their Eagle Scout experience had they waited until they matured to undertake their Eagle Scout project.
Just my two cents, and it doesn't apply to all young Eagles. I've had over thirty Eagle Scouts in my Troop since 1999. As a National Scout Jamboree Scoutmaster, I've seen another dozen of my scouts earn Eagle. Of forty Scouts on my Philmont treks, thirty-nine made Eagle Scout. In various roles, I've worked with other Scouts through their Life and Eagle ranks. I'm talking about the kind of young men I want my daughters to marry and my future Presidents, Generals, Ministers, and CEOs to be. And yet, almost all of them benefitted, or would have benefitted, by waiting until they were 16 or 17 to carry out their Eagle Scout project, in my humble opinion.
I appreciate your perspective, as always.
<FoghornLeghorn> Why that kid is sharper than a bowlin' ball, I tell ya! A bowlin' ball!</FoghornLeghorn>
"I used to be an Eagle, and a good old Eagle too."
excellent project! best of luck to him!
a local scout did a path improvement project at the back
of pats brothers house. many neighbors supported and helped
on that project too.
From observation of my son's troop, I agree wholeheartedly with you.
Our Eagle was 17 when he finished his project, and he was much more able to plan, document, negotiate, organize, secure funding, supervise, etc. than he would have been at an earlier age. Not to mention, he could also drive!
Not to mention the "Order Of The Arrow".
For those that do manage to make Eagle between 14 and 15 challenge them with the Hornaday Conservation Award. That's if the Fumes don't get 'em; Gas-Fumes and Per-Fumes.
I've only had a few Eagles in my Troop since it was re-chartered 8 years ago (after about a 25-year hiatus). They've all be 16 or older. If you ask me why the number of Eagles has gone up, I'll say that it's due to parental pressure. The question then becomes, why are more parents applying such pressure? College. Eagle has become a credential, especially for college applications. With the greatly increased competition for spots at top colleges, parents have latched onto the Eagle rank as a way for their kids to distinguish themselves.
LOL 8^) LOL
As far as I know, the only good thing to come out of Sierra Vista is me.
I'll disagree with you on that point; My Son now in the Vally of the Sun! Hands Down! But then he is my son.
We have a 14 yo Eagle Scout in our troop and he is every bit worthy of what he has done. I look for our son to make it at about 16....
First, congratulations and good luck to your son. Second, as I said above, there are some exceptions to my general observations about 14 year-old Eagle Scouts.
Your point is well-taken about the young man in your son's Troop.
As a Scoutmaster, I might argue that it's very often not a matter of whether a Scout is worthy of the rank of Eagle at 14. Presumably, any young man who advances through the ranks of Scouting, earns the required merit badges, serves in the required leadership roles, meets the tenure requirements, demonstrates Scout Spirit at each level to the satisfaction of his Scoutmaster, and undertakes and carries out an Eagle Project that is approved by his unit committee and the council committee is worthy of the rank of Eagle; that is, unless his parent(s) actually plan and supervise the project.
My point was simply that among even the best 14 year-old Eagle Scouts, a significant percentage of them would have learned more from their Eagle Project had they undertaken it when they were more mature, in my opinion and observation. Some are mature enough at 14 so that the incremental amount more they would have learned from waiting two or three years is not worth the wait for them to earn the rank.
Again, good luck to your son. You may already know that support from parents appears to be the key factor in young men earning the rank of Eagle Scout; that speaks highly of you (and Mr. or Mrs. MarMema). So thanks to you for supporting your son and Scouting as well.
May I assume we're talking about Wood Badge and not the rank of Eagle Scout? ('Cause I used to be an Eagle; and there are too many former Foxes and Owls running around my neck of the woods).
If not, then let me congratulate you, because you're still an Eagle Scout. And not just to me, but to the Boy Scouts of America, to the World Organization of Scouting, and most of all . . . to yourself and that Eagle Charge/Challenge you accepted.
Congratulations, Eagle Scouts!
That, my fellow Freeper (or may I call you my fellow Scouter/campaign hat-wearing friend?) is an excellent idea. Earning even the Hornaday badge is a daunting task.
As SandRat knows, the William T. Hornaday Award is a conservation award. It exists in three forms. One is a unit award, which can be earned by meeting specific requirements. It also exists in the form of medals to which a Scout can aspire, but for which there are no specific requirements to be met. Projects that win medals are extraordinary. Only about 1,000 Hornaday medals have been awarded in 70 years. I've only seen a couple awarded in person and those were at the National Meeting.
The third permutation in which it exists is the Hornaday Badge. For this, a Scout must earn any three merit badges from one list of conservation-oriented merit badges, plus two additional merit badges from a list of science-/nature-oriented merit badges.
He must also plan, lead, and carry out a significant project in one of seven conservation categories.
The project is expected to take at least 18 months at a minimum. Compare that to Eagle Scout projects, some of which now take only one or two weekends. Tax-chick, with your little Scouts, it's time to start those Hornaday projects yesterday (snicker).
I've had other Scouters suggest challenging the young Eagle Scout to earn the Silver Award for Venturing -- but once the Scout spends time in the Venturing Crew, particularly a co-ed Venturing Crew, he tends to offer less leadership in his Troop.
I've had Scouters suggest challenging the young Eagle Scout to earn the Quartermaster Award for Sea Scouting. That definitely pulls the young Eagle Scout out of the Troop -- although (and I hate to say it) the requirements for earning Sea Scouting's Quartermaster Award exceed the Eagle Scout requirements, particularly when you consider the requirements for Sea Scouting's lesser ranks required before Quartermaster. That, and the relatively few Sea Scouts and Sea Scouting Ships in existence, explains why there are currently about 700 Eagle Scout medals awarded for each Quartermaster medal (that means only about 15-20 each year).
I had the privilege of attending a Bridge of Honor two years ago for the first young lady to earn her Quartermaster in Georgia. At that time, BSA was still issuing Quartermaster medals out of the original stock that was first cast by the foundry around 1917.
Her medal was sterling silver, something the Eagle Scout medals stopped being years ago -- and that was after the BSA had no doubt restocked Eagle Scout medals several times.
But I digress. The Hornaday medal is an excellent idea, SandRat. It would take a very special young man to earn it, so it's quite a challenge.
It's clear from the comments on Eagle Scout threads that most people don't understand what's involved to become an Eagle Scout. One of these days I'm going to write a short blurb explaining the requirements, to be added or linked to in Eagle Scout posts. And I mean short -- not like the long-windedness my other posts seem to take. Sorry, but I get carried away.
Thanks for all you do in supporting Scouting.
Many are. Good luck in the days ahead.
I didn't know that parental support was a key factor. Thanks for telling me.
Our oldest son began in Scouting one year ago, just as he turned 14. We were in our church troop for a few months, a new troop. A significant adult, serving as troop commissioner, told my son and I that he had little chance to make Eagle since he began the program at age 14.
Our son spoke with us at home and told us he really wanted Eagle. We moved both boys to another troop, more settled and with an experienced SM.
One year later our oldest son is a patrol leader, almost Star (Jan) and has a lot of merit badges completed, about 7 or 8 Eagle. He is serious about getting there and we hope he will. It's nice to be in a troop where his interest and hard work are taken seriously.
I have suggested to Sandrat that we ask Jim for a chat thread for Scouting, or daily, whichever way you want to think of it.
Perhaps you would be interested in running one? I sure have a lot to learn and would like to be part of something like that here on FR, which is definitely a place for a Scouting thread.
Valley of the Sun? San Fernando Valley, Ca or Phx?
Very interesting. I am trying to offset the pressure (from their father) to complete major awards with our older children. Our oldest daughter has a Girl Scouts Silver Award project in progress; it involves birdhouses, so it can't be completed until spring nesting season. She will probably finish it, but I have said through all her years in Girl Scouting that I don't care what badges or projects she completes, as long as she's having a good time with other girls and participating in a way that shows good character.
I have the same position for our son who's in his first year of Boy Scouts. I'm glad that he's progressing in his ranks (he'll have 2nd Class before Christmas) and doing well as a Patrol Leader, because those accomplishments are important to HIM, and because he's aware of the skills he's developing and the contribution he's making to the troop. However, if he never reaches the highest ranks, but just wants to participate in Boy Scouts because he's having fun, that will be fine with me. Ultimately, the Boy Scouts program is a tool for him to use in his own development, and it's up to him to decide in what ways the program serves him best.
If Bill becomes an Eagle Scout, or Josie gets a Gold Award, we will be proud of their accomplishments, of course, but mainly because those achievements are symbols of the real goal: becoming a good and responsible adult man or woman.
C-19-96. I also staffed C-30-02 as a Troop Guide and have been selected as SPL for C-20-06. All good fun, as you know! Did you get your beads in the previous course or in the 21st Century course?
I tend to agree with you on the concept that advancement shouldn't be more important to the parents than to the Scouts. I also agree that there's plenty of benefit to the program for the kids without their having to attain Eagle. I didn't earn my Eagle rank; I was too busy with other things in Scouting, mostly, and I wasn't driven to it.
Having said that, I see no problem with parents encouraging their Scouts to achieve Eagle or the Gold Award, as long as it's encouragement, vs. harassment or pressure. It's not unheard of, for example, for parents to tell their 14- and 15-year-old sons "No Eagle, no license". I think that's a bad idea.
My son made Life rank when he was about 14. His involvement in the troop racheted down some, but he still was reasonably active and fulfilled far more than his 6 months of leadership role. I tended to take more of a "if it's important to him, he'll get it, if not, that's O.K." approach. My wife was more interested in driving him towards getting it. What finally happened was that when he was about 17.5, and the talk around the house raised up a bit, all of a sudden he got interested and did his project.
It consisted of renovating the church kitchen; we had just started up a program of spaghetti dinners, etc., at the church where we were inviting in the outside community, and there were some things that had to be fixed. We took apart the ceiling light fixtures and cleaned them, fixed the exhaust fan (which didn't work and didn't shut, allowing cold air in during the winter and bugs during the summer), repainted the walls and ceiling, cleaned up a bunch of spilled paint from previous paint jobs, replaced the kitchen sink countertop, replaced the kitchen sink faucet (the old one was more like a bathroom fixture and you couldn't get tall pots and pans under it), and assembled and installed about 8.5 feet of additional cabinets. The church was thrilled. He ended up writing about 30 pages of plans, lists of materials, tasks (writeups of individual tasks that he could then hand over to a team that was going to work on it), a budget, etc., etc. He did the writeup and got the approval in 3 weeks, which is close to a record in our Council. His Eagle application got into Council 36 hours before his 18th birthday.
At his Eagle Board of Review, he was asked why, after all that time, he'd decided to do it. He told them "I decided that I was leaving something on the table, and I didn't want to leave Scouting thinking I'd left something unfinished."
Leadership skills are far more an important part of the Eagle project than what is actually done. I took his workbook into work and showed it to my boss, who is not familiar with Scouting. He was astounded. He told me that half the people working for him couldn't have done that. Understand that it is not at all necessary for the Eagle candidate to do any of the physical work. In fact, here in our Council the concept is explained as "Write up the plan so that you could show up, give it to a project manager at the job site, and then go home."
Good for you and your sons.
The challenge of making Eagle is one of the reasons that an Eagle with the requisite college degree will always get a face-to-face interview where I work. We even have a company accepted email distro list for the Scout leaders in the company.
He can earn the required merit badges at his own pace -- and that pace will be quicker than a younger Scout who is not as determined or as mature.
One obstacle is the ten Troop/Patrol activities requirement for First Class. He can push that by organizing Patrol activities, gaining leadership experience at the same time.
The only other real obstacle is sixteen months' tenure - four at First to reach Star, six at Star to reach Life, and six at Life to reach Eagle. He just needs to make certain that he ASKS for one of the requisite leadership positions if he is not elected to one of the ones elected by the Scouts. A good Scoutmaster will be certain that he has a chance to earn his leadership tenure.
When he earns it (and I didn't say IF), let me know. I just set aside a patch for him from the Scouts of the Prefecture of Yamagata, Japan, given (in 1998, in think) to thank the Boy Scouts of America for helping bring Scouting back to Japan after World War II. It's his when he earns his Eagle.
Congratulations and good luck on all the hard work involved in being the Senior Patrol Leader.
It sounds like your son figured out what Scouting is all about; earning your Eagle just comes naturally after that. Congratulations to him and to your family.
What part of AZ is this?
The mission of Boy Scouting is NOT to make Eagle Scouts. There is NOTHING in the Charter of the Boy Scouts that mentions that.
It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to prepare young people to make ethical choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. If they happen to earn awards and high ranks along the way, then that's great -- but that's not the value of Scouting.
One of the best Scouts I've ever seen never got past the rank of First Class Scout before his 18th birthday. He was too busy helping younger and older Scouts learn skills that he managed to teach himself (because he certainly was more adept at them than any of the leaders). We went through about five years' worth of new Scouts who could find their way two miles through dense woods with a compass to reach a single bag of potato chips hanging from a tree; could start a fire with one match and a pile of wet logs on a windy day; could tie one-handed bowlines with their eyes closed; and knew how to spot and treat hypothermia . . . because he wanted no more out of Scouting than to serve as Troop Guide and teach the new Scouts.
Six or seven years after he turned 18, went to college, and left the Troop, Scouts in their Eagle Scout boards of review would discuss what a profound impact he had on them and their Scouting careers, or name him when asked whom they knew who best exemplified the Scout Oath and Law.
He never earned the rank of Eagle Scout, but he earned the respect and admiration of over 100 other Scouts. He never made Eagle but he made a difference.
I think I need to give him a phone call tonight.
The rank of Eagle Scout did not exist when Scouting first started. In fact, the key rank was First Class Scout. Robert Baden-Powell didn't consider a boy to be a true Scout unless and until he earned the rank of First Class.
In one respect, that's recognized today by the Boy Scouts of America. There are only TWO ranks that are recognized by full size certificates: First Class and Eagle.
We make a big deal out of a boy earning First Class, with a tradition we call the Circle of First Class Scouts.
We dim the lights (if inside -- if at our campfire ring, it's night anyway) and point out how important Baden-Powell considered the rank, and that First Class is the only rank other than Eagle recognized by certificate, and the rank at which Baden-Powell considered a boy to be a full Scout. We then light a candle symbolizing the Spirit of Scouting.
We ask everyone present who ever attained the rank of First Class Scout to stand -- including brothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers.
By calling out years, starting with the most recent, those who earned First Class come forward, take a candle, and light it from the Spirit of Scouting, then take a position in a full circle around the room or around the campfire. When the oldest man comes and lights his candle -- and we have several grandfathers who earned their First Class in the early 20's -- he calls the name(s) of the new First Class Scouts, and they come forward, take a candle, light them from the Spirit of Scouting, and join the unbroken circle, standing next to the oldest First Class Scout. That means that on the other side of the brand new First Class Scouts are those young boys who most-recently earned the rank (usually at the previous Court of Honor), and they present the certificates. They all give the Scout sign and the brand new First Class Scout(s) lead them all in the Scout Oath and Law, after which they all have a moment of silence, extinguish their candles, and step forward to loudly welcome the new First Class Scout(s) with handshakes and hugs.
Might sound hokey, but when it works, it works. Particularly when a new First Class Scout is in the circle with his brothers, father, uncles, and grandfather. Paticularly when someone who's never been to one of our Courts of Honor suddently finds himself part of the ceremony and reciting his Scout Oath and Law again. Believe me, when a Tenderfoot sees it done with sixty or seventy people ranging from 11 to 90, it makes an impression.
Good move taking your son to another Troop. If a 14-year old is truly motivated, he can make 1st Class in less than a year and be an Eagle about a year and a half later.
I'd be interested to know what exactly that person was you talked to. If he was a member of the Troop, he should not be that Troop's Unit Commissioner.
We also emphasize First Class, but you've added a couple of details that I'm going to steal.
It's not called "stealing;" it's called "spreading the Scouting movement." ;)
And that's the first (and perhaps the last) time I've ever used an emoticon on Free Republic.
Thanks again! All of this is very informative.
He just needs to make certain that he ASKS for one of the requisite leadership positions if he is not elected to one of the ones elected by the Scouts. A good Scoutmaster will be certain that he has a chance to earn his leadership tenure.
That is what we have told him as well. Take *something* to keep moving on - to Life - after he reaches Star.
I have read that a lot of Scouts stall at Star. I wonder why that is....other than age and fumes.
Thanks for all of your wisdom and sharing.
Before my emphasis shifted from local unit Scouting to International Scouting, whenever I got a patch or a neckerchief, it was because I attended a function or swapped for it at the National Jamboree (sort of like I earned it or traded for it). You didn't just meet someone at a Camp-o-ree, shake hands, and before leaving give a gift.
Now, from the few times I've represented scouting overseas to the many times I've served as part of a contingent to host Scouts or Scouters from other countries, I can't meet someone in Scouting without being given something -- patches, neckerchiefs, Scout knives, nametags, uniform tops, you name it. (Of course it means I keep a lot of U.S. and local items on hand as gifts, although nothing is expected in return for a gift.)
I just do my part and pass along the goodies, usually International stuff, in the Spirit of Scouting (although I'll never part with my Swedish Scout knife or set of Australian patches to support Aboriginal Scouting -- the Swedish knife is too useful and the young lady who gave me the Australian patches looked too much like Olivia Newton-John).
I was given several patches by the Prefectural Commissioner of Scouting in Yamagata with instructions to give them to U.S. Scouts and Scouters to thank them for helping re-start Scouting in Japan after WWII.
As I said, I've put one away for your son for when he earns his Eagle Scout rank. It's not from me, it's thanks and congratulations from the Scout Association of Japan. I'm just the messenger.
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