Today is National Eagle Scout Day. Arthur Eldred became the first Eagle scout 100 years ago in August, 1912. To celebrate this anniversary, the National Council of BSA determined that we’d honor Eagles on the first day of August.
There are a number of news articles today about this anniversary and one in particular by Michael Malone in the Wall Street Journal provides a very nice summary of Arthur Eldred’s experience in getting this award all those many years ago:
One hundred years ago on Aug. 1, Arthur Eldred, a 17-year-old Boy Scout from Long Island, became the first person to earn the Eagle Scout rank. Eldred, tall, quiet and with a shock of dark hair, had joined scouting largely at the behest of his widowed mother, who hoped it would give some structure to his life. Yet as Eagle Scouts would continue to do throughout the next century, Eldred caught the scouting world by surprise. He was the first of an extraordinary new cohort of young men who were to prove very different from the classic 13-year-old Boy Scout in short pants.
Eldred’s initial accomplishment was to complete the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout only six months after that supreme award in American scouting was announced in April 1912. The leaders of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), assuming it would take several years for any boy to earn the required 21 merit badges, hadn’t yet devised a final review system for Eagle candidates; they hadn’t even settled on a design for the medal.
Unsure how to proceed after Eldred qualified for all the badges, the BSA ordered him to come down to its headquarters in Manhattan and put him through what had to be the most intimidating board of review in scouting history—led by the BSA’s founders themselves. Eldred apparently passed with ease. And then, as an indication of what kind of remarkable person scouting would now have, while awaiting his award that summer Eldred saved two of his fellow Scouts from drowning.
Another article (http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120801/LIVING/308019998/1008/biz) offers additional insights into the value of becoming an Eagle scout:
Approximately 4 percent of Boy Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout, a process that must be completed by age 18.
Each Eagle Scout is required to earn 21 life skills merit badges and to plan, organize and execute an extensive service project — an endeavor that requires an average commitment of 130-185 hours. Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, First Aid, Camping and Family Life are a few of the required merit badges.
Famous Eagle Scouts include President Gerald Ford, Walmart founder Sam Walton, former astronaut and Apollo 13 commander James Lovell, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. For a century, Eagle Scouts have excelled as Olympic athletes, Pulitzer Prize winners, Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, and leaders in business, industry and community.
“If you choose to join the military, being an Eagle gives you one pay grade up,” says Nicholson. “(At) the NASA Research Center in Cleveland, there is a poster with all the departments, showing their patches from fuel tech, flight data, aerospace — (more than) 75 divisions.
The headline reads: ‘Before they wore these patches, they wore this.’ At the bottom, under all these NASA patches, is the Eagle patch. They found an Eagle in every one of the NASA Departments.”
“When you are hiring,” he adds, “look for the Eagle on the resume.”
In the past, we’ve published links to research studies on the net benefits of pursuing Eagle rank (https://troop113.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/new-research-study-released-on-eagle-scouts/) and why its a good investment to participate in scouting (https://troop113.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/why-is-it-important-to-encourage-boys-to-work-hard-in-scouting/)
Scouting offers a lot of fun and learning. The program is equally rewarding for parents who get involved by enabling them to witness their sons learning to become self-reliant, and responsible for their patrol’s well being.