It was a legendary night for Boy Scout Troop 695, as 15 young men achieved the rank of eagle scout on Sunday, Feb. 9, in Sammamish.
“Every eagle scout court of honor is a big deal. Our scouting council is very proud of the accomplishments and achievements of eagle scouts,” said Christopher Otto, director of field service, Cheif Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America. “It’s very memorable when families decide to join up and hold a court of honor to recognize multiple eagle scouts at once. This event, honoring 15 scouts at the same time, is certainly the largest I can remember hearing about.”
Boy Scouts of America does not keep track of the size of the group receiving the rank of eagle scout, however, according to Scouting Magazine, 61,353 young men earned the eagle scout rank in 2019, beating the previous record of 58,659 in 2012.
“The eagle scout rank is the seventh and highest rank in scouting,” said Troop 695 scoutmaster Randy Ball. “Nationwide, about 6% of all scouts eventually achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, so it is an elite group.”
In 2019, troop 695 had 24 individuals earn the rank of eagle scout while 15 of which were recognized together on Feb. 9: Tyler Allred, Ryker Ard, Luke Arnesen, Ethan Ball, Jacob Christensen, Quinton Fisher, Matthew Hild, Isaac Muhlestein, Jacob Muhlestein, Dallin Olson, Thatcher Olson, Cameron Roper, Marco Sifuentes, Warren Sprague and Jacob Stout.
The other scouts of Troop 695, who earned their rank as eagle scout earlier in 2019 were Jacob Walker, Dalton Carl, Marcus Ball, Tanner Vogel, Cade Anderson, Eli Nelson, Will Shriber, Henry Shriber and Berkeley Berrett.
“This night was all about recognizing these exemplary young men,” Ball said. “As a group, they set a goal to finish up their eagle rank requirements by the end of 2019 and they did it. This was a huge effort on their part. They supported one another by volunteering and helping with their fellow scouts’ eagle projects and encouraging one another to finish up.”
Earning the rank of eagle scout is not an easy task — a scout must have the rank of life scout, the second-highest rank, for at least six months.
Scouts must also acquire at least 21 merit badges, 13 of which are mandatory for the rank of eagle; First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Cooking, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Environmental Science or Sustainability, Personal Management, Swimming or Hiking or Cycling, Camping, and Family Life. Also, the scout must demonstrate leadership abilities as well as scout spirit.
“Scouts must also complete an eagle project,” Ball said. “They choose a ‘project beneficiary,’ which is usually a community or charitable organization, and work with the organization to develop and plan a project that would benefit the organization or the community.”
Of the 15 eagle projects, a total of 1,033 volunteer hours were listed on their project reports. Many of the projects required large groups of volunteers all led and directed by the scouts themselves.
Tyler Allred and Quinton Fisher led a large group of volunteers to collect donated dental hygiene supplies and assemble more than 2,300 dental hygiene kits for the Seattle King County Clinic.
Jacob Christensen and Marco Sifuentes also led large groups of volunteers to carry out workdays at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, to clean and rehabilitate the facilities and also sort donations.
Other scouts constructed additions to benefit community areas including schools and parks.
Isaac Muhlestein led a group of volunteers to build a nature trail around Creekside Elementary School and Dallin Olson gathered donated supplies from various businesses in the area to construct a gaga ball pit, a common playground activity, at the Creekside Elementary School playground. Jacob Stout solicited donated supplies to build eight park benches to be donated to a campground and Ryker Ard led a large group of volunteers to construct raised garden beds at Beaver Lake Park in Sammamish.
The projects listed above are only a few examples of the hard work done by each of the scouts while earning the eagle scout rank.
“Every year eagle scout candidates do amazing service in their communities, especially through eagle scout projects they are required to complete,” Otto said. “These projects equal thousands of service hours and lasting improvements to organizations and communities.”
According to Ball, scouts must also pass what is called a board of review. The board of review has three reviewers, who are scout leaders and adults who have not been directly involved in the scout’s requirements. Each scout is interviewed by the reviewers and the requirements are verified to ensure he has completed everything. If the scout has completed every step, they are then recommended to the national council to be awarded the rank of eagle scout.
“Scouting is an epic adventure,” Ball said. “During the past few years, these young men could be found outside exploring the beautiful landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, volunteering in the community at a wide variety of service and community projects, leading their peers in meaningful ways both inside and outside of their scout troop, and going about doing their daily good turn. Along the way, they have accumulated a diverse set of experiences that have strengthened their characters, enhanced their perspective, and most importantly, helped them to focus on others instead of themselves.”