Eagles taking flight


Public Domain Photo

An eagle leaving his nest, which can represent an Eagle Scout leaving his Troop

Ben Pegg, Staff Writer

I am finally almost there. Almost at the coveted rank of Eagle. It will take maybe five weeks to get the paperwork back from National and my final project review in order, but I have all the time in the world, since my Eagle board and/or my final project review are both completable after my 18th birthday. It is honestly a little surreal, considering that I have been walking towards Eagle since I was seven years old. 

But I am not the only one who is leaving the Troop soon. Senior Patrol Leader Jake Wicks, ’21 will also be taking his leave. “I just want to be remembered as a person they could always go to for help and was making sure you’re getting stuff done.” Wicks said. The majority of Scouts want to accomplish things during their tenure as a Boy Scout, such as reaching the rank of Eagle, or becoming Senior Patrol Leader for a term or two, or even earn the Triple Crown Award (Special award for going on a High Adventure Expedition to all three of the National Scouting Reservations, which are Philmont Scout Ranch, Boundary Waters Scouting Reservation, Florida Sea Base, though the National Council added Summit High Adventure Base to the requirements in 2015 as well). 

Eagle Scout is the highest of seven ranks possible among Boy Scouts, and is only rarely achieved. The requirements include a service project and 21 merit badges, 13 of which are required. A Senior Parol Leader is to the Troop what a Patrol Leader is to a Patrol, which are small groups of six to eight scouts. The Triple Crown Award is “a round three-inch patch with a depicting an animal representative each of the Adventure Bases the recipient took trips to” (Philmont=Bull, Boundary Waters=Loon, Sea Base=Dolphin, Summit=Black Bear)

The four Scout reservations are places where deep wilderness is regulated. If a person is not actively looking for particular Reserve’s official location, they are highly unlikely to find it. They may stumble across the land of the reserve, but not an official building. In order, Philmont is a backpacking/camping reserve located in northeastern New Mexico. Boundary Waters is located at (and may actually be) the border between Minnesota and Canada, and is a canoeing/portage (Overland treks carrying your gear on your back and your canoe on your head) combination. Sea Base is fairly self-explanatory, being a boating/scuba-diving location in the Lower Matecumbe Key. It is essentially the five-star resort of High Adventure Bases in that there is no tent camping, round-the-clock peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it is always warm, and there is no extreme physical exertion involved, to my knowledge. Summit is the newest location, added four years ago when the United States was selected to host the World Jamboree, which is where delegates from as many Troops around the world meet and bond.

However, the most remembered and recognized Scout is a humble ideological, leader who wants to direct, help and teach to ensure the longevity of the Troop.  Wicks emulates this, and has a few people in his life who he feels have shown him the way. One of these people, he mentioned, was former Scoutmaster Brian Ward. “There’s something so, sage, about Mr. Ward. I know that’s kind of cliche… He, he didn’t really talk a lot, he was kind of on the quieter side, but when he did talk it was something worth listening to… He was able to direct the kids, but was very calm, and he also had fun.  He also was never too upset… obviously he had his moments where he’d yell “Gentlemen!”” Wicks said.

While Troop 44 does not have a special ceremony, most Scouts bring sweets to their final meeting. Scouts do come back to visit, but have not, to my knowledge, continued on in youth leadership. Many Scoutmasters, such as Scoutmaster Ward and his successor, Scoutmaster Dolan, are former Troop members and Eagle Scouts. The youth continuity is not a universal rule. For example, in Troop 182, the Scoutmaster’s son is 21, an Eagle Scout, and Senior Patrol Leader.