Three join Eagle Scout ranks with projects

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
The Boy Scouts of America offers a program where youth learn values and skills that influence their adult lives.
One of the organization’s major components is the opportunity to earn merit badges from a list of 138 options including such subjects as animation, basketry, camping, cooking, digital technology, engineering, first aid, golf, mammal study, snow sports and more.
A Scout can earn the highest rank, Eagle Scout, after earning 21 badges, including some specific badges required for the Eagle rank. To reach that level, they must complete a project that benefits another organization.
During the past year, three from Lebanon’s troops have earned the Eagle Scout rank.

Boyce’s completed project for Camp Alma for veterans.

Kyler Boyce, 18, of Troop No. 88, was around 13 years old when he joined the Boy Scouts. He had just moved to Lebanon from Alaska and was looking for a personal change.
“When I was in Alaska, I really didn’t do much,” he said. “I wanted to better myself by doing something and putting myself out there and making friends and doing more with the outdoors.”
He liked how easy it was to make friends in the Scouts, and the many interests he could pursue and master. Some of his favorite merit badges earned included pioneering, archery, rifle-shooting and wilderness survival.
For his Eagle Scout project, Boyce built a bench around a 17-foot tree at Veterans Legacy Camp Alma, a rural rehabilitation center for veterans outside of Eugene.
“I built it because I wanted to help the facility there,” he said. “The tree seat will allow them to be able to sit on it and rest and think about peace and treatment.”
Boyce began the project in November 2021 and completed it near the end of March 2022. The project improved his leadership skills, he said, and he learned to respect peoples’ different skill levels. He also learned to make a base around the tree because its roots were protruding, and found making precise cuts to the boards challenging.
Looking back on his Scouts experience, Boyce recommends that members work to obtain as many merit badges as they can, even ones that may not interest them.

Luke Gibbs poses with his fresh planter bed at the library, which he completed this past March.

Luke Gibbs, 18, of Troop No. 350, became a Scout when he was a second-grader living in Mississippi. He joined with his friend, thinking it looked fun. Gibbs said he enjoyed his time in the Boy Scouts because he likes learning and being outside.
“The leadership skills, the delegating from the Eagle Scout project was very valuable to me, but also the merit badges and the outdoor activities and practical skills that I learned,” he said.
Some of his favorite badges earned included camping, wood carving, bugling and game design. Gibbs built a raised cedar planter at the Lebanon Public Library in March 2022 for his Eagle Scout project.
“I originally went to them with a different idea; I was going to build them a table,” he said. “They didn’t need that, but I still wanted (my project) to be for them, so I asked them if there was something else they wanted, and they came back to me with (the planter).”

Boys who helped Gibbs build the planter pose for a group photo.

It took about six to eight hours to complete the project. To earn the Eagle Scout rank, Gibbs had to organize and gather everything he needed, then delegate the work to others. The project taught him how to cooperate and collaborate with people and organizations, he said.
“I firmly believe that the Eagle Scout rank and the project is more so about learning social skills and leadership skills than it is anything else,” he said.

Jonah Peake

Jonah Peake, 19, of Troop No. 88, joined the Scouts as an 8-year-old living in Vancouver, Wash. He looked forward to his Cub Scout meetings where he met lots of new friends, and the Boy Scouts gave him opportunities to learn leadership skills and do more fun things.
“You got to shoot rifles, you got to do blacksmithing, welding,” he said.
In fact, his two favorite merit badges earned were welding and lifesaving, both of which impacted his career decisions. Peake is currently a lifeguard in Sweet Home and Albany while attending Linn-Benton Community College for a degree in welding and fabrication.
For his Eagle Scout project, Peake chose to do a “facelift” for the American Legion Santiam Post 51 parking lot. He painted the curbs and parking lines and freshened up the medians by weeding and replacing the filter cloth and gravel. He also built an arbor over the flag donation box, setting planters on either side, and planted clematises to grow over the arbor.
“The point of it was to bring attention to the donation box, so that way people could donate used American flags,” he said.
The Legion collects worn, torn and tattered flags that are ready to be retired and burns them every year.
Peake estimated that it took about two hours every week for two months to complete the project, culminating in its June 2021 completion. The most challenging part, he said, was finding help on the weekends, so Peake changed the work time to take place during the Scout meetings.

New plants make their way up an arbor built by Jonah Peake.

But completing the project is only half the battle to earn the Eagle badge. Scouts must also complete applications listing dates they earned their merit badges, the positions they’ve held and every person who’s made an impact on their life. Then Peake spent about two hours at his board review.
“It’s a lot of, you’re sitting there at the front of the table while they’re staring at you,” he said. “It’s pretty intimidating.”
The board asked questions regarding the most challenging part of his project, what he would do better, what he didn’t accomplish, his morals, and what he wants to do with his life.
Peake joined the Scouts because he wanted to make friends and do something fun. By the time he finished, he also had many new skills and experiences, plus a career choice.
“It was a wonderful experience; it shaped me into the person I currently am,” he said. “I recommend it for anybody who wants to go in.”