Celebrating 100 years of the Eagle Scout Award
SUBDURY - The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) Committee of the Knox Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America, recently held its 2012 Convocation of Eagles at Nobscot Scout Reservation in Sudbury celebrating 100 years of the Eagle Scout award. Close to 100 Scouts and Scouters from across MetroWest, more than half of whom were Eagle Scouts, gathered to mark the centennial. The evening was headlined by Eagle Scout, Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Acting Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard.
“It was impressive to see the wide range of Eagles who attended – from 1939 to Knox Trail's most recent Eagle Scout – each one sharing memories of their ‘trail to Eagle,” commented Bill Downey, a Marlborough Eagle Scout and Chairman of the Knox Trail Council National Eagle Scout Association Committee. “Events like this not only provide an opportunity for local Eagle Scouts to connect and network, but to display that the Eagle Scout award, one of the Boy Scout’s most important traditions, is alive and well,” he said.
Eagle Scouts of all ages attended the Convocation, representing 74 years of Scouting. The longest tenured Eagle Scout in attendance was Stuart Eynon of Ashland who earned the rank in 1938. The youngest was Christian Slutz of Milford who became an Eagle Scout earlier this month.
“Eagle Scouts represent the highest ideals of Scouting in Knox Trail Council,” said Council President Brian Dingman. “The Knox Trail Council Board is very pleased that so many local Eagle Scouts have become involved in Scouting across the MetroWest region,” he continued.
The event began with a one-hour networking period during which the Eagle Scouts and their guests had an opportunity to reminisce about their Scouting experiences. James Chesna, a Marlborough Eagle Scout and long-time ranger of Knox Trail Council’s Camp Resolute in Bolton, provided an impressive display of Scouting memorabilia to highlight Scouting’s prestigious history.
Speaking before the crowd of assembled Eagle Scouts and their guests, Maj. Gen. Rice remarked on growing up in Boy Scouts and how advancing to the rank of Eagle Scout shaped his life and career. The acting head of the Massachusetts National Guard also took questions from attendees during which he candidly spoke about how his Scouting background resonated during recent deployments to the Middle East.
Christopher Anderson, a Hopkinton Eagle Scout, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Anderson, a current Master Sergeant in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, has been deployed three times during recent conflicts in the Middle East, serving under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Rice.
Paying tribute to Scoutmasters and Scouters who have positively influenced the Scouting movement, Convocation Chairman and Milford Eagle Scout, Sean Riley, remarked that “The ‘trail to Eagle’ is a personal journey; however, without the encouragement and mentorship of Scout leaders and adult volunteers, achieving this goal would not be possible.”
To close the event, Distinguished Eagle Scout Peter Casey encouraged Eagle Scouts to continue making their leadership and example count for the benefit of the community, and led the group in reciting the Eagle Scout Oath.
The Eagle Scout Award is the highest rank in Boy Scouts. The first Eagle Scout award was granted on Labor Day 1912 to Arthur Eldred of Long Island, New York. To date, more than 2 million have become Eagle Scouts including numerous distinguished Americans.