Eagle Scouts Soaring Through Norwood

Kara Nicole
Issue Date: 
June, 2020
Article Body: 

The Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process according to the BSA website.
For Norwood’s own Troop 49, founded in 1946, 65 participants have achieved this rank over the years. Within the past few years, five more members can claim this prestigious rank: Stevie Ayoub, Chris Giovanni, Geoffrey Jandrue, JT Needham, and Joe Phillips.
“To achieve the highest award of Eagle, a scout must earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, and 13 merit badges must be what we call Eagle required,” Norwood Scout Master Simon Thomas explained. “In addition, a scout must complete a service project that is helpful to any religious institution, school, or community. In other words, the project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America.”
During their journey with the BSA, a scout advances through certain ranks, including but not limited to, Star, Life, and Eagle. This allows them to try new experiences and learn while showcasing their achievements.
“The scouts in our troop have had experiences that very few young people ever get an opportunity to be involved in,” Thomas said. “We challenge them, but at the same time they challenge themselves. From the foods they cook, to the adventures they embark on. They have done local campouts in all kinds of weather, traveled to every New England State and beyond. They have backpacked in New Mexico and Alaska, hiked portions of the Appellation Trail, and have been encouraged to stretch their imagination.”
As the adventures continue, the scout has a certain path to show their progress within the program. Each rank has its own requirements and can take different scouts different amounts of time to complete them. But Troop Master Thomas said he has often argued in the past that “scouting advancement is a wonderful journey— not a race.”
Any young man or woman from the ages of 11 until their 18th birthday is eligible to become an Eagle Scout.
Joe Phillips earned his rank this year at age 17.
“For my eagle project, I painted a map of the United States behind the Cleveland school in Norwood,” Phillips said. “There aren’t any duties that an Eagle Scout has to partake in but most Eagles have a great sense of duty to fellow man and nature. I have worked to become an Eagle Scout since I was about 12 but I have been in scouting since I was about 10. Becoming an Eagle Scout is most definitely my proudest achievement and the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Currently there are two Troops that are sponsored by St. Catherine’s of Siena Parish in Norwood. Troop 49B was founded in 1946, and Troop 49G was founded in 2019. Troop 49G was the first female troop to be chartered in Mayflower Council. They we chartered on the first day that the BSA expanded the program to include women- February 2, 2019. For Troop 49B there are over 65 young men that have achieved the rank of Eagle, and for Troop 49G, Troop Master Thomas expects to have their first Eagle in two years.
Thomas further described that “Troop 49’s vision is that we provide a youth-led and adult-supported organization postured toward developing lifelong skills in boys and girls and helping them to develop into men and woman of character. The big part of the scouting program is that the scouts, boys and girls, make the decision, under the guidance of adults. They plan the meetings, come up with ideas for activities, trips, and camp outs. They learn leadership skills that will help them the remainder of their lives. In general, the adults are there for transportation, health, and safety. When everything works as it should, the scouts do the teaching and the doing.”
Overall, the achievement of Eagle Scout is no small feat, and for the young men who have been awarded this honor they have been taught something important, and had fun learning in the process.