Heart attack Eagle Stress



A representation of Mt. Eagle

Ben Pegg, Staff Writer

It finally hit Evan Houston ’19 that he had five months left in Scouts when he started shopping for Eagle Projects. Each wasted a lot of time on his already-tight-schedule, which just stressed him out more. School and Boy Scouts have many, many parallels. From a work ethic to stress to inclusivity, school is chock full of fun experiences to commiserate over. One of those experiences is finals. School has finals, that last push and heave of effort to make sure the learner has a head crammed full of knowledge. The rank of Eagle is Boy Scouts’ finals, of sorts, since the Scout is never required to try for the next rank.

The Eagle Scout Trail, as it is called, is very long and challenging, requiring 21 merit badges, 13 of which are pulled from a list of pre-selected options. Also required is, “A project ‘Worthy of an Eagle Scout’, six months of active participation since attaining the Life Scout Rank…80% attendance at weekly troop meetings and monthly weekend outings, and complete attendance at summer camp,” according to troop44.org. Additionally, they must “Serve in a position of leadership for a period of at least six months since obtaining the rank of Life Scout,” and “Show to the satisfaction of your Scoutmaster that you have demonstrated scout spirit by living out the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your everyday life,” according to BSA.org.

Ordinarily, if one has done their due diligence, this last push is a plane ride. It takes a little while to get to cruising altitude, coasts for a long time, has a little turbulence on the ride, then a slow descent down. If they procrastinate though, this plane ride turns into a mountain climb. For example, Eagle Scout Evan Houston ’19 had five eagle required merit badges left and his project still to do the year before his 18th birthday, which is the almost-concrete ceiling of Scouting age, other than a few exceptions. 

He managed somehow, to get these five merit badges done in two weeks, and his project done, or at least the actual physical work, in one day. “I got over double the amount of people as expected. I was expecting like 20 and I got like, 46…. Was the best attended Eagle Workday in recent history,” Houston said. This upset comes from the veterans themselves, rather than his troop. “Eight or nine people from Troop 44 showed up,” Houston said. “But my project was with the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, it was cleaning out the wreathes there… one of the skills I have… is networking and… know everybody who knows somebody, so, I took advantage of that network and got the word out to just about everybody whose involved at the Veteran’s Cemetery… and a lot of them were willing to come out.”

Another prospective Eagle Scout who is feeling the stress, though preemptively, as he has over a year left until he ages out of the program, is Tate Larsen ’19. “I have my Communications Merit Badge and my project left… [which is] to plant trees, ” Larsen said. “ My biggest worry, at this point, would be not getting enough people or that something won’t pan out.” 

The advice Houston would give to other scouts is quite simple. “Just get [your merit badges and project] done. Do that and you’ll be fine,” Houston said. Also, consider the other benefits. Marcus Dolan is the Scoutmaster of Troop 44, a heart-attack eagle, and a former Troop 44 scout. “It looks nice on a resume, and the Army pays an E-1 as an E-3 if he has his Eagle Scout,” Dolan said.