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Most folks are at least minimally familiar with The Boy Scouts of America. We are that youth group that practices first aid, camps, and helps escort individuals across the street. The majority of our population is also aware that achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is in some way a big deal.

But what does that mean to our community?

To even begin to answer that question we need a little more Scouting background.

To attain the rank of Eagle a Scout candidate must progress through the rank structure of the Boy Scout Program. Skill levels increase with each rank and the ranks all build upon one another just as the levels of responsibility grow also. We take great pride in the fact that we are actually a boy-led organization with adult supervision.

If a Scout is quite fortunate (currently between 2% and 4% of the boys that enter the program) he will have passed through seven rank levels and he will have earned at least 21 Merit Badges that encompass quite a diverse level of accomplishments, skills, and knowledge. After all of this effort, the Scout must then choose an appropriate Eagle Project.

All Scouts are continuously exposed to community service activities of all sorts. But an Eagle Project is a multi-level project that requires effort in many directions. The Eagle Scout candidate will propose a project that is‑weighed for its merits and then either approved or another project is developed. In this project the Scout will demonstrate leadership and organization much more than just brute labor. The Eagle Candidate will‑arrange financing. No one can just “buy” an Eagle Project. The Scout will also arrange the necessary labor through Troop members, friends, and any other willing hands that‑he might recruit. It is his project from beginning to end. And some projects are very ambitious. It is a learning experience for him.

We will profile Scouts from the community as we proceed with our series in this column. But I do hope that this brief background will serve to answer some questions that non-scouters might have.

Since last May we have awarded around 18 Eagle Badges in The Waynedale News circulation area. For this spring there is a beautiful new flagpole with a concrete pad, benches, and all weather lighting at Indian Trails Park. The Roanoke Community has a great new portable control center for their community activities. Avalon Missionary Church has a new fenced in playground for the young. Calvary United Methodist Church has new picnic tables that we hope do not float as well as the previous ones. The local Red Cross has benefited from several Scout organized and implemented Blood Drives. Many local Church’s and Prayer Gardens are looking very nice for this spring as the result of hours of renovation, clean up, mulching, and planting. And the Boys & Girls Club has a brand new library to replace the one that was 100% totaled after our last flood. That project involved cleaning after the flood, new paint, shelves, and even a book drive to fill the new shelves.

So as you hear or read more particulars about this group of Scouts and the other Scouts that are on the Trail to Eagle, do your best to look at it from our perspective.

It is a big deal! The young men that have received their Eagle Awards since last May have well over 1,500 combined service hours involved in their projects. And they are right here in our own back yards.

The Waynedale News Staff

Gary McOmber

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