Twelve African American Men Achieve Highest Rank in Boy Scouting
Jo-Carolyn Goode | 1/7/2019, 1:38 p.m.
Since 1910, the Boy Scouts of America have operated at a level of achieving nothing less than their best to honor God, serve their country, and obey the Scout Law. In doing so millions of young men have grown to be “physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
Even within this distinguished group is an inner circle composed of young men who have reached a higher caliber, the Eagle Scout. Known as the highest achievement/rank in Boy Scouting, the Eagle Scout is not just an award, it is a state of being according to the Boy Scouts of America website. Earning a rank of this competence is not easy. Minimum requirements include earning a minimum of 21 merit badges, demonstrating leadership in and out of the troop, implementing a community service project from start-to-finish, and living a life that is reflective of the scout oath all before the Scout turns 18 years of age. Of the millions of Boy Scouts around the world, only a mere 4% of them achieve this rank. So it is quite remarkable to see 12 young men from the same troop, who are African American, attain the greatest honor a scout can achieve of the 109-year-old organization.
Boy Scouts Troop 242 celebrated the rank of Eagle Scout of the 12 young men at the Court of Honor ceremony at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Seeing 12 men earned this award at the same time from one troop is truly a historic and amazing fete for any troop no matter its demographics. It is simply extraordinary.
“These young men have had their “eye on Eagle” through years of hard work, fulfilling the obligations with more than just the minimum obligations required for the honor to be called an Eagle Scout,” said Troop leadership.
Pride in themselves was shown on the faces of Shane Bennett, Dameion Crook, Dylan Gaines, Kyle Gaines, Chandler Green, Daniel Hinton, Marshall Hudson, Marcellus Jordan, Eron Lord, Eric Sims, Asa Singleton and Benjamin White. Their troop leadership, parents, extended family, friends, and supporters for each of these men also shared that sense of pride individually and collectively, as they are the largest Eagle Scout class of Troop 242.
On average, the few young men who earn this award achieve it when they are 17. And almost half of Troop 242’s Eagle Scout 2019 class has obtained this rank before turning 16.
“These young men have gone beyond their Troop and have represented scouting locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally in various endeavors such as Order of the Arrow (scouting’s honor society), National Youth Leadership Training (premier leadership training for Scouts), participating in the Philmont Trek, and on a scout trip to Switzerland,” added Troop leadership.
However, that is not the only reason that Troop 242 is special. This troop opened the door for African Americans to be Boy Scouts in the Houston area as it was the first African American troop in the city established 54 years ago. Unlike like most troops that have seen a decline in participation, Troop 242 has continued to thrive.
The Boy Scouts have a saying that an “Eagle Scout IS an Eagle Scout-not was.” Meaning that once a young man has achieved this rank it is not an act that they stop working at once the project is complete. But it becomes an attitude that they take on for life and live well into their adult years. The world better keep their eyes on these young men for they have the vision to change the world.