It takes several years to progress through the Boy Scouts, and few from each area tend to earn the Eagle honor. Just 51,473 — 5 percent of all Boy Scouts — made it last year, according to scouting.org, the Boy Scouts of America’s website.


  



Earning the Eagle Scout honor isn’t easy.



Achieving the Boy Scouts of America ranking requires a scout to:



•Pass through several phases including Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life



•Earn 21 merit badges including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Family Life and Emergency Preparedness



•Lead the troop for six months



•Participate in a Scoutmaster conference



•Plan and deliver a community-oriented service project



These things don’t happen overnight. It takes several years to progress through the Boy Scouts, and few from each area tend to earn the Eagle honor. Just 51,473 — 5 percent of all Boy Scouts — made it last year, according to scouting.org, the Boy Scouts of America’s website.



However, boys who do go the distance have received significant training that uniquely prepares them for life’s mishaps.



If they get a flat tire in Timbuktu and lose cell phone reception, they can build a fire, pitch a tent and camp in the woods. They could make a sundial to tell time and plan their days. They can hunt, fish and live off the land for as long as they need to.



If they’re camping with friends and someone passes out, they can build a stretcher out of tree branches and fabric from their clothes to safely transport the person. If it’s a burn, they can dress the wound. If it’s a broken bone, they can splint it.



Scouting projects and survival tips preceded iPhone’s “There’s an app for that” trademark — and we were better for it. Long before smart phones made us lazier — I mean “more efficient” — scouts had a do-it-yourself project that saved you a trip to the store and some cash, but more important, exercised your brain and made you self-sufficient.



The same is true for the Girl Scouts of America, who also learn vital life skills and receive early entrepreneurial experience, as we all know, with their Girl Scout cookies.



Despite efforts to politicize either organization, these groups, at their core, make America better by teaching kids to stand on their own two feet, not freak out when they get a paper cut and, above all, serve as community leaders.



The News Bulletin covers Austin Boyd’s Eagle Scout project in today’s edition because Austinis one of the “5 percent,” the few Boy Scouts going the distance to become a leader at a young age — 17. We believe his floating duck nest project at Twin Hills Park is just one way he will help improve our community.



It all started with a phone call. If you’re in Crestview or outlying North Okaloosa areas and know a person, project or event with wide interest, we’ll be there, too.



Thomas Boni is the Editor of the Crestview News Bulletin.
Email him at tboni@crestviewbulletin.com, tweet him @cnbeditor, or call 682-6524.

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