Earning the rank of an Eagle Scout is no-easy task, ask any Boy Scout. In fact, only about five percent of all Scouts do so. It’s Scouting’s highest rank and one of the most familiar icons associated with Scouting.
If you ask a Scout, they’ll tell you that the award is much more than a badge on a uniform. Being an Eagle isn’t just a one-time thing, it becomes a state of being. Once you’re an Eagle, you’re always an Eagle.
In the words of the Eagle Scout Promise, you do your best each day to make your training and example, your rank and your influence count strongly for better Scouting and for better citizenship in your troop, in your community, and in your contacts with other people, to this you pledge your sacred honor — and Joseph Beckett has done just that.
To earn the rank of Eagle, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills. A number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks—Scout rank, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. To advance, a Boy Scout must pass specific tests that are organized by requirements and merit badges.
There are over 130 merit badges that a scout can earn. 21 must be earned to qualify for the Eagle Scout ranking. Of this group, 13 badges are required, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Cooking, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, and Family Life. In addition, a Scout has a choice between Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving and a choice among Cycling, Hiking, and Swimming. These projects have to be completed prior to the Scout’s 18th birthday, or they age out of the program and miss their chance at the Eagle rank.
Part of becoming an Eagle Scout is completing an Eagle Scout Service Project. The project provides an opportunity for the Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community. This is the culmination of the Scout’s leadership training, and it requires a significant effort on his part. The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts, but it cannot be performed for an individual or a business or be commercial in nature.
For Beckett’s Eagle Project, he undertook the renovation of the St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery.
“I chose my project primarily because it is my parish’s cemetery where my dad, Dr. Grant Beckett, who passed away when I was young is buried. In addition to this I chose this project due to the cemeteries’ historical significance that I hoped to preserve,” explained Beckett. “It was founded in 1862 and the chapel on the property is filled with hand-carved decorations and statues, carved by Fr. Mertian ,that are truly breath-taking.”
The project included painting the roof and trim of the St. Patrick Chapel, clearing, repairing and painting the fences, and weed control. Beckett also helped to clean and repair tomb stones in addition to restoring the St. Patrick sign, marker and two Fr. Mertian markers.
Making the project a total of over 256 man hours.
“The idea of the project isn’t for him to do all the work by himself,” said Troop 12 Chairman, Stephen Harvey. “The project is designed for him to demonstrate his leadership skills. They can’t just come up with a plan. They have to have approval from the Scoutmaster to do it, and then they have to have approval from me since I’m the committee chairman for the Troop. I put them through the ringer, they have to have their plan designed in such a way that they can show leadership. Once it’s approved by me, they have to go through the district for approval, then they can do their project.”
But approval wasn’t the only challenge for Beckett. The scout worked to clear over 900 feet of chain-link fencing that was riddled with bent and broken top rails, covered in vines, saplings and leaves.
“Needless to say, that took many volunteers hours of painstaking work,” said Beckett. “Another challenge we faced was tediously painting the front section of the chain link fence that was completely covered in rust when we started, but by the time we were finished it looked as good as new.”
According to Beckett, the project has been well-received by the community.
“So far, I’ve got a lot of positive feedback from the community, they all feel the new paint and the cleared and repaired fence all add to the aesthetics of an already beautiful cemetery. One parishioner even said it was the best he had ever seen the cemetery look,” said Beckett.
After completing high school at Notre Dame, Beckett intends to continue his education by pursuing a degree in the engineering or medical field, as well as continue his work with the Scouts.
“I hope to continue to participate in the Boy Scouts of America as an adult leader and a merit badge counselor,” Beckett explained. “Scouting has prepared me for all parts of my life to come and has taught me many skills, especially leadership, that will prove invaluable throughout the rest of my life.”
-PDT Ciara Conley
It is said this will be a 5 part series to highlight each individuals (five students) award and project.