In first grade, seniors Jack Young, Chase Tetrick, Chace Prothe, William Larson and Jacob Scott were Cub Scouts – selling popcorn and attending weekly meetings with boys a few ranks higher, and many years older.
“I just wanted to be like [the older boys],” Young said.
And after 12 years, they were. On March 26, Young, Tetrick, Prothe, Larson and Scott received a Boy Scout’s most honorable rank — Eagle Scout.
The boys have been together in Troop 199 since Cub Scouts. Selling Christmas trees in 25 degree weather to raise money for the troop and hiking through the wilderness without showering for three days have been a part of some of their favorite childhood memories. According to Prothe, the boys would not be nearly as close if it weren’t for Scouts.
“I got involved in Scouts because my grandpa and dad were both Eagles,” Prothe said. “But I stuck with [Scouts] because the guys made it fun.”
Troop 199 is home to first graders, seniors in high school and every age in between. Young has tried to encourage the rest of the boys to set the same example past Eagles set for the boys by being excited to go into the isolated wilderness with nothing but a 75-pound backpack on his back – but, for Young, this is fun.
“While you’re starting out there are a lot of people to look up to, so it makes it easy to set goals for yourself,” Young said. “As you get older you start to be the role model that you looked up to, so that motivates you to be the same example for [the younger boys].”
Each year, the troop goes on a camping trip known as High Adventures. For Prothe, not only is this fun but it’s a way to show what you’ve learned. For example, to Prothe, it is important to have your cooking badge for the trip so you can feed yourself in the wilderness. All of the boys said the adventures were their favorite memories from Scouts.
The boys’ Assistant Scout Master, Ed McConwell, has been one of the boys’ leaders for their entire scouting experience. McConwell has watched the boys grow from Cubs to Eagles and has watched the friendships develop along with them.
“[The boys] have learned so much about leading by example,” McConwell said. “They are nowhere near perfect, but is gratifying to watch kids grow into people willing to volunteer their time to help those that are less fortunate.”
Most days, Prothe sees the boys in a less rustic environment – the hallway. According to Prothe, Scouts has brought out the most outgoing side of each boy, which have come out more and more over the years.
“Some of the boys I see [in the halls] are usually pretty quiet, so I most likely wouldn’t have talked to them very much if it weren’t for Scouts,” Prothe said. “But because of Scouts I notice that they are a lot more outgoing towards me at school, so I like to think I helped break them out of their shells a little bit.”
For the boys, the most time-consuming requirement in earning the award is the service project. The project must in some way serve the community outside of Boy Scouts. Prothe and Tetrick went to Highlawn Montessori School for a day where they built and stained three tables, stained five other existing tables to refurbish the patio seating and also revamped the playground at the school. After a total of 25 hours, their project was finished.
“It was a ton of work but having [Tetrick with me] made [the project] so much easier,” Prothe said. “It obviously feels great to know that you’re helping someone else, but it makes it better to share that experience with a friend.”
At the awards ceremony, each boy wrote a speech and thanked those who helped them achieve what they consider what will be one of their biggest life accomplishments. As they started speaking, they realized that this is 12 years of memories coming to a close.
After thanking their families and superiors, they thanked each other.