Local boy scouts help others on their journey to becoming eagle scouts

Every Monday night, from 7-8 p.m., the Troop 30 Boy Scouts congregate at their sponsor church, St. Michael’s Episcopal. For the Boy Scouts, these nights are mostly recreational, but they also plan hikes, campouts and district events. In the Westlake area, Boy Scouts are responsible for much of the community service done for local libraries, trail beautification and church projects.

The Scouts’ parents also attend the meetings.

“These meetings are run by the boys,” Life to Eagle Scout coordinator Bryan Buck said. “There’s a senior patrol leader and he helps guide the Scouts, and their parents are here to provide supervision.”

The Scouts try to stay active throughout the year. In late January, Troop 30 camped at Colorado Bend. Though they brought backpacks and tents for the journey, they had the option of participating in the venture as Survivor Scouts. In the Survivor Scout challenge, a troop member must take the same path as the others but he may not be equipped with a tent and he may bring only minimal supplies of food and water. The ones who complete these challenges receive Survivor Scout badges.

“In the last six years, I have been to high adventure camps in Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Minnesota (Boundary Waters canoe area), and California (Emerald Bay Scout camp on Catalina Island ),” Rusty said. “BSA has presented me with opportunities that are not open to just anyone.”

April 4 is the Camporee district-wide event in which troops from all over the Bee Cave District gathered to participate in micro-competitions which have included timed fire starting, shooting and knot tying.

“It’s not really about winning or victory,” Buck said. “It’s more about mastering the skills. If a Scout wins in a competition, all he receives is recognition or maybe something small, like an arrow head.”

The theme for the April event is highland games. The Celtic-themed competitions are based on strength and generally consist of caber, stone and hammer tossing.

The Eagle-Scout rank is the highest, and reaching it is a goal shared by all of Troop 30’s members. The process of becoming an Eagle Scout generally takes about five years, and to get there, a scout must pass through six ranks: Scout, Tender Foot, Second Class, First Class, Star Scout and Life Scout. A boy must also do a project that serves as a rite of passage into becoming an Eagle Scout. The project may be landscaping (like building a pond), trail marching or organizing a charitable event.

Buck’s role is to help Scouts take all the steps to make the final transition into becoming Eagle Scouts. Sophomore Boland Ross has been a Scout for five years and he already has an idea for his project, which he will begin next year.
“I was thinking about building a garden for a local preschool,” Boland said. “I feel like that would really serve my community.”

It’s an important component of Scout-hood that they help others. Though the Scouts usually do not receive badges for community service, they are eager to serve anyway. Once a month, the Scouts in Troop 30 volunteer at Mobile Loaves & Fishes, where they provide food and clothing for the poor.
Senior Charlie Boyce of Troop 5 fixed up the playground of the River City Youth Program on Jan. 2 as his Eagle Project, which qualified him to become an Eagle Scout. He planted some flowers and set up and painted a few picnic tables.

“It felt amazing to help them,” Charlie said. “Kids love to play outside and I wanted to create a positive environment for them. The purpose of the service projects is to use all of the skills you have learned over the years and put them where they are needed to help others and make them happy.”
A nationwide organization, The Boy Scouts of America is dedicated to the molding of selfless, physically fit young men who serve others in their community. In 2011, a survey was conducted which showed that 11,963,746 service hours were performed by more than 2.7 million Scout youth members.

“My career as a Boy Scout has developed my leadership abilities, as well as deepened my devotion to community service,” senior Rusty Hutson said.