By Jeffrey L. Boney
NNPA Newswire Contributor
Here in the United States, the Boy Scouts of America is considered to be one of the most revered institutions for the development of young boys.
In the Boy Scouts of America, the highest achievement or rank that one can attain is the designation of Eagle Scout and reaching that accomplishment is not an easy task.
The Eagle Scout designation is highly respected because only 4 percent of all Boy Scouts are ever granted this prestigious rank after fulfilling the many years of requirements that must be achieved. On Saturday, January 5th, twelve African-American young men reached the ultimate milestone of being awarded the Eagle Scout distinction.
Shane Bennett, Dameion Crook II, Dylan Gaines, Kyle Gaines, Chandler Green, Daniel Hinton, Marshall Hudson, Marcellus Jordan III, Eron Lord, Eric Sims, Asa Singleton and Benjamin White are all a part of Boy Scout Troop 242, a historic troop located at Wheeler Ave Baptist Church.
Boy Scout Troop 242, led by Scoutmaster Dameion Crook, Sr., presented the 12 African-American Eagle Scouts during the Eagle Court of Honor ceremony that was held at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. His son was one of the newest Eagle Scouts, which is the cherry on the top of Scoutmaster Crook’s two years leading Boy Scout Troop 242.
“This event marks a tremendous milestone in the history of our troop,” said Scoutmaster Crook. “We have a long tradition of creating Eagle Scouts and to have these 12 young men complete the Boy Scouts of America program is a testament to our legacy and our scouting program.”
Twelve Eagles at one time is pretty much unheard of for any troop and definitely for an African-American troop like Troop 242. All 12 of these young men have had their “eye on Eagle” through years of hard work, fulfilling their obligations with more than just the minimum obligations required for the honor to be called an Eagle Scout.
This group of talented young men not only achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, they did so in historic and memorable fashion.
The Boy Scouts requires a minimum of 21 merit badges, but most of these Eagles have more than 30 merit badges. Only through planning and carrying out a community service project, coupled with demonstrated leadership in and out of the Troop, can a scout who lives the scout oath be considered for an Eagle Board of Review that consists of the District and Council representatives from the Boy Scouts. All of these things must be done before the Scout turns 18.
Although the average age for attaining the rank is 17.5 years old, at least five (5) of these new Eagle Scouts fulfilled the commitment before turning 16.
These young men have gone beyond their Troop and have represented scouting locally, regionally, nationally and internationally in various endeavors such as Order of the Arrow (scouting’s Honor Society), National Youth Leadership Training (premier leadership training for Scouts), participating in the Philmont Trek, representing Troop 242 in Switzerland, etc.
Often overlooked by families seeking to engage their sons in meaningful, positive activities, the Boy Scouts have proven to be an old, but tried and true method that has not lost its effectiveness. These twelve young men have taken full advantage of all that the scouting world has to offer.
Troop 242 and the parents of these young men should be extremely proud of their accomplishments and dedication. We look forward to all they will achieve in the future.