High school Boy Scouts strive for Eagle award

Scott Reckers | Staff Writer

Junior Jason Clabbers (center) led his Boy Scout troop in a group canoeing trip. Being an Eagle Scout not only entails working on a project to serve the community, but also being a leader both within and out of a scout’s troop.

It takes eagle-like vision to spot these high ranking scouts among the others.

Established in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America are a well-known organization that has stood the test of time. Some students at Mason High School are active members of Scout troops, but few make it to the coveted Eagle Scout rank. There are several requirements to becoming an Eagle Scout — for instance, 21 merit badges are required, 13 specific to the Eagle award. Junior Jason Clabbers remembers some of those require a serious time commitment. 

“One of the hardest badges is a three month long budget you have to stick to,” Clabbers said. “There’s also a three month long workout plan, which has to be individual workouts. Those badges teach you how to be a better version of yourself. A big part of scouting is becoming self-sustainable and becoming an adult, because you have to achieve Eagle Scout before you’re 18. If you don’t, you can still be involved in Scouts, you just can’t get the Eagle Scout rank.”

Achieving the rank is not only hard because of the badges and time commitment, but the Eagle Scout project. This is a lengthy project that the Scout trying to become an Eagle must organize — some projects are done in a few days, while others take weeks. The Scouts have few restrictions on what they choose to do for their project, as long as it has an impact in the community. For Junior Evan Hill’s Eagle Scout project, he went the hands-on route.

“The project can be anything you want, it just can’t directly benefit the Scouts,” Hill said. “It is straightforward, but hard work. My Eagle Scout Project was building a trellis for Fort Ancient in Oregonia. It is a large box-like structure built from sticks to grow viney plants.” 

Along with all the hard work comes the fun times. Camping trips, overnights, hikes are all in the conversation. Scouts do all these activities in their troops, with the same group of people. Hill remembers how his troop and the people in it pushed him to get Eagle Scout. The Scouts do all of the activities, and more, in their troop. The troops grow close together, like a family. 

“I am in Troop 750,” Hill said. “A lot of my good friends are in the troop, it’s larger than most troops. The guys really pushed me through the tough times while I was trying to get my Eagle Scout rank. It helped me a lot and I hope I can do the same for some of them in the future.”

Clabbers, who is only a few merit badges away from becoming a full Eagle Scout, thinks the whole process has left a positive impact on his character, whether it the tedious process of getting merit badges or the long nights under the New Mexico stars with his troopmates.

“I think being an Eagle Scout has really shaped my personality,” Clabbers said. “One of the fundamentals of scouting is leadership, and it’s all scout lead, [although] the scouters [adults] obviously organize events and fundraisers, the handle the finances, keep the chaos under wraps. But I have picked up leadership skills through scouting and scouting events, and have transferred them to other parts of my life. I’m a leader in marching band now, and I have been able to apply them in any program I get involved in, I’m able to lead and guide a group efficiently. I am so thankful for that.”

Senior Ian Wright believes the rank is very helpful outside of Scouts and being a role model. He said that the long process of becoming an Eagle Scout, which demonstrates leadership, determination, and persistence, is something that colleges and employers love to see.

“I don’t have a job yet,” Wright said. “But I think my Eagle Scout rank will for sure be a nice help in the job search. And as for college, it was at the top of my resume for extracurricular activities. It really takes several years of commitment to get Eagle Scout.”

Wright achieved the rank of Eagle Scout roughly a year ago. He plans to stay involved in the organization as much as he can, even when he is in college. Wright wants to be the role model that his troopmates were for him when he was just a Boy Scout.

“After you get Eagle Scout, sometimes guys just leave, but I never really liked that idea,” Wright said. “I still show up to meetings, I am still active. One of my friends in my troop, who is a Mason alumnus, is still as active as he can be with colleges, so he is a good example of what an Eagle could do after they get the rank.”

Photo contributed by Jason Clabbers.