Scouts earn most prestigious award while balancing academic responsibilities

Achieving the highest honor in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts is an endeavor that spans over the majority of a scout’s childhood and demands a highlevel of dedication.
According to Scouting magazine, there were 55,494 Boy Scouts who achieved Eagle Scout rank in 2017, with a combined total of 8,461,760 volunteer hours.
Junior Mark Skaggs said reaching Eagle Scout rank was easier to do during his sophomore year than his junior year.
“I had time to work on my Eagle Scout rank at troop meetings once a week,” Skaggs said.
Skaggs said he is grateful he achieved his Eagle Scout rank while he was still an underclassman.
“Junior year has been a lot more demanding in terms of workload compared to sophomore year, so I’m glad I completed my Eagle rank last year,” Skaggs said.
According to Girl Scouts of America, fewer than six percent of Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award annually. Junior Katie Reuss, who earned the Gold, said past recipients inspired her to achieve the high honor when she was a younger Girl Scout, after talking about leadership with them.
“Having those Girl Scouts to look up to when I was younger was what drove me to stay in Girl Scouts,” Reuss said.
Reuss said before she could earn the Gold Award she had to earn the awards below it: the Bronze and Silver Awards.
“The Bronze Award was completed by the whole troop and I completed my Silver Award with one other Girl Scout,” Reuss said. “However, for the Gold Award, it had to be individually earned and I was able to achieve the award through my previous experiences in building leadership roles.”
Reuss said there were numerous steps she had to complete in order to achieve the Gold Award.
“Once I outlined my plan for the award, I had to submit a form online describing my award and then I met in D.C. with two representatives from the Girl Scout council to discuss my plan,” Reuss said. “Then they gave me suggestions and I resubmitted my ideas while also implementing their suggestions.”
Reuss said she had to complete and log a minimum of 80 hours toward the award.
“For my Gold Award I created a website and social media platforms for a youth group called First Time Campers,” Reuss said. “The 80 hours consisted of brainstorming the plan for my project, actually creating the website, which took up the majority the time, meeting with peers to give feedback and also an outreach component.”
Skaggs’ mother, Susan Skaggs, said she is proud of his diligence.
“From when he was a Cub Scout all the way to becoming a Boy Scout in sixth grade, he has learned […] how to live in the outdoors and serve others,” Skaggs said. “I wish everyone could have this practical experience that will benefit them for life.”