After years of camping trips, merit badges and meetings, a group of five Winchester teens have achieved the ultimate goal in Scouting.
Saturday, Aug. 5, Alan Bast, Jansen Browning, Nick Oliver, Eli Leslie and Nick Lambert will become Eagle Scouts, continuing a troop tradition.
Since Troop 56 was formed in 1975, Scoutmaster Clay Rose estimates about 25 Eagle Scouts have come out of the program.
“I take very little credit for what is done here,”¿Rose said.
To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must complete a service project and a report about the project to submit to Scouting officials. Although troop members and family members may help with the project, the Scout is responsible for all planning and preparation.
Projects completed by Bast, Browning, Leslie, Oliver and Lambert can be seen throughout Clark County.
“The main thing with Eagle projects is just logistics,” Bast said.
For more than a year, Bast worked with city officials to make sure his plans for a new sign in front of St. Agatha Academy were in compliance with zoning and city ordinances.
Other projects include a raised-bed vegetable garden at the Clark County Homeless Coalition’s shelter, an information shelter at the Civil War Fort at Boonesborough, benches at the Lykins Park walking trail and a screened garbage collection area at the homeless shelter.
“It’s a gigantic relief to get it done. You’re working toward it for so long,” Bast said.
Service projects have been a large part of their Scouting experience and something that all five Scouts say they hope to continue working in the community into adulthood.
”The volunteer program in our troop is outstanding. The cornerstone of Scouting is service to the community,” Oliver said.
Three of the Scouts, Leslie, Bast and Lambert, are recent George Rogers Clark High School¿graduates with plans for college in the fall.
Leslie will attend the University of Kentucky, Lambert will attend the University of Evansville in Indiana and Bast will at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
Browning and Oliver will be seniors at GRC.
All Eagle Scout requirements must be fulfilled before the Scout’s 18th birthday.
“When I started Scouts, it was a pretty big group. Most of them quit before they made it to Eagle,” Leslie said.
Attaining Scouting’s highest honor requires a lot of work and motivation, as well as support from family, friends and troop members.
Browning said he was motivated to continue with Scouting after seeing his older brother, Blake, a former Troop 56 member, achieve his Eagle Scout ranking in 2008. His father also is a former Scout and older sister Caroline recently received her Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts.
“I always followed in my family’s footsteps,” Jansen Browning said. “My dad and my older brother pushed me.”
The five Scouts also give plenty of credit to Rose, despite his reluctance to acknowledge his role.
“He’s one of those people who, even if it wasn’t about Scouting,¿I feel like I could call him up and ask him a favor,” Oliver said.
Rose first became involved with Boy Scouts in 1968 when his son expressed interest in participating in Cub Scouts.
The elder Rose helped form a troop in Lexington and later saw his son and grandson both earn Eagle Scout awards. He has been at the helm since 1990.
“You’ve got to keep true to your ideals and the organization’s ideals. That’s the key to longevity,” Rose said.
During their tenure in Scouting, which began around first grade for the five Eagle Scouts, the boys have had a lot of fun and developed strong friendships.
“It’s just all the memories you get after you’re done with it all,” Leslie said of his favorite parts of Scouting.
The Eagle Scout ceremony is the culmination of all the years of memories and the work put into the Eagle Scout projects.
“I’m hoping that a lot of friends and family show up. It’s a big day,” Leslie said.
Contact Rachel Parsons Gilliam at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @ParsonsRachel.