The leaders and scouts of Boy Scout Troop 117 of Jasper conducted an Eagle Court of Honor Saturday afternoon at the United Methodist Church in Jasper for seven members of Troop 117, Matthew “Matt” Medders, James “Darby” Williams, Jared Johnson, William “Will” Thomas Cook, Matthew Ellis Kennedy, Logan Leslie Black, and Colby “Dalton” Waid.
The seven young men stood before their parents, grandparents, family, friends, scout leaders and fellow scouts Saturday representing the best of Scouting. All are varsity athletes in at least one sport and are outstanding academically. They are accomplished musicians and performers. They are class officers and club leaders. They have been generously awarded college scholarships in many areas. They provide leadership in their troop, their church, and their school.
“Each of these boys are more well-rounded than your average teen as a result of the challenges, achievement, poise and familiarity with being a leader. That is what we honor today,” Troop 117 Scout leader Matthew Dougherty said during the ceremony. “Men who have earned this rank count it among their most treasured possessions. Americans from all walks of life know it is a great honor, even if they don’t know just what the badge means.”
The award of Eagle Scout is more than a badge, it is a state of being.
“You ARE an Eagle Scout, never were. You may have received it as a young man but you keep earning it every day as a man,” Doughtery said. “To become an Eagle Scout you must advance from the first rank of Scout and achieve the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life, before ever attempting to become an Eagle.”
Doughtery said each step to Eagle has rigorous requirements before advancing to the next level. Star and Life further require the Scout to participate in two projects for each rank: a conservation project and a more general community service project. Life Scouts attempting to become an Eagle must be active in their troop for a period of at least six months after they have achieved the rank of Life Scout. And demonstrate that they live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.
The scouts must also provide a list of names of individuals who know them personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on their behalf, including parents/guardians, religious, educational and employer references.
And they must earn a total of 21 merit badges, including the following required badges: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Environmental Science, Personal Management, Swimming or Hiking or Cycling, Camping, and Family Life.
While a Life Scout, the seven young men had to serve actively for a period of six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility — patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, Webmaster, or Leave No Trace Trainer.
They also had to plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project that would be helpful to any religious institution, school, or their community. The project had to benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.
During Saturday’s Court of Honor, the parents of the seven scouts were asked to join their scout on the altar for the presentation of the Eagle Awards.
Troop 117 Scout Leader Paul Kennedy said Troop 17’s first Eagle Award was given in 1927 to Joe Simmons and he was followed by Bert Simmons in 1928.
“Only 78 young men from the troop have received this highest designation to date,” Kennedy said. “And Saturday was the first time we have awarded seven Eagle Awards at the same time.”
Kennedy said Troop 117 has the distinction of being the oldest continuously chartered Boy Scout Troop in Alabama. The Troop was founded in 1926 as Troop 17, but as scouting grew, Troop 17 became Troop 117 sometime around 1946, and the First United Methodist Church of Jasper and Troop 117 have a long standing and mutually beneficial relationship.
“Col. L. B Musgrove, benefactor for the church, was alive and very active when the troop was founded,” Kennedy said. “We hope that he is still pleased with the foundation he has laid for this church, this community, for education and the strong leaders this troop helps mature to Eagle.”