CFHS Eagle Scouts share insight on the true meaning of scouting over the years

Ben Olson/Sports Editor

Many boys throughout generations have participated in the rich tradition of scouting; including (you guessed it) the clichéd merit badges, knot-tying and fire-starting along with the rest of its glory. However, out of 100 boys that join a Boy Scout troop, only about four will attain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest and most sought-after honor in the scouting program.

But what does it truly mean to those who achieve their Eagle Scout badge?

Well, first, it is a symbol of long-term commitment. Many scouts begin their journey in first grade as a Tiger Cub scout, working their way through Cub Scouts, finally reaching Boy Scouts in junior high.

Second, the rank represents self-will and organization, as a Boy Scout has to meet very strict requirements and plan and actually carry out a community service project. A scout must be active in the troop six months after achieving the Life Scout rank, the rank preceding Eagle Scout. The scout must then prove that they live by the Scout Oath and Law by providing recommendations from teachers, parents, coaches or religious leaders. Next, the scout must earn a minimum of 21 required merit badges, ranging from first aid to cycling. Then, a position of responsibility must be held in the troop for six months as a Life Scout. Following that, the scout has to plan, supervise and carry out a service project benefiting the community in some way. Finally, after a lengthy application reviewing process, the scout must endure a conference with their troop’s leader and a board of review, the equivalent of an immensely important job interview where the scout demonstrates everything he has learned over his scouting career. After meeting these requirements, then and only then may the scout achieve their Eagle badge. All of this must be done before the scout’s 18th birthday.

Above all, however, achieving the Eagle rank is a sense of pride. After all, the statistics speak for themselves: To date, only 40,029 Eagle Scout badges have been awarded and at least one Eagle Scout out of four say they valued their Eagle rank more than their college degree.

Here at Cedar Falls High School, there are many Eagle Scouts, including those who have finished their service projects and are waiting for their reviews, and in Cedar Falls alone, there are several Boy Scout troops. The following scouts shared their insight on what the scouting program has personally meant for them.

Name: Nick Carlo
Troop: 55
Years Involved in Scouting: 10 years
Eagle Project: “I planned and lanscaped the flowerbed in front of Peet Junior High in May 2008. It took eight hours.”
Best Memories: “The campouts in general were always fun because we went to lots of different places. Our trip to Colorado was the best because we got to travel out of state and go rafting, hiking and a lot of things we aren’t able to do in Iowa.”
Life Lessons: “I’ve learned no matter what to have fun, be responsible and to be someone others can look up to.”
Future Preparation: “[Scouting] has given me leadership skills, tools to deal with difficult situations and getting along with people you don’t necessarily like all the time.”

Name: Scott Sesterhenn
Troop: 158
Years Involved in Scouting: 10 years
Eagle Project: “I did a landscaping project for Southdale School. I planted new plants and installed a gravel path.”
Best Memories: “We went on a trip up to the Boundary Waters in Summer ’08. It was very cool to get away from everything and be out in the open.”
Life Lessons: “This has taught me the value of hard work and responsibility.”
Future Preparation: “The rank of Eagle itself is helpful in getting into college in jobs, but everything you take away from scouting will always stay with you.”

Name: Dana Conrad
Troop: 55
Years Involved in Scouting: 10 years
Eagle Project: “I poured some concrete steps at Orchard Hill Church from the parking lot to the doors because in the winter time it is very slippery there.”
Meaning of Eagle: “It’s certainly a big honor because it’s kind of like a brotherhood. A lot of great people have achieved it.”
Life Lessons: “I’ve learned that sometimes you might feel like you don’t have enough time to be involved in something, but to stick to things because it will be worth it.”
Future Preparation: “Besides good credentials, it will help me in terms of seeing things through, and the friendships will last a long time.”

Name: Phillip Weinert
Troop: 158
Years Involved in Scouting: 10 years
Eagle Project: “I landscaped St. Stevens church to prevent erosion. It took three days of labor.”
Life Lessons: “Besides learning how to tie knots, I’ve learned about being a better leader and how to do things you don’t always want to do.”
Future Preparation: “The process of becoming an Eagle scout is challenging, and that applies to facing challenges in real life.”

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