Becoming a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Eagle Scout is a lengthy and committed process, and rightfully so as it is considered the highest achievement attainable in the BSA program. It is a coveted rank that only four percent of Scouts have earned since the organization’s inception in 1911. This past November, twin brothers Ethan and Gavin Williams ‘22 were inducted as Eagle Scouts five days before their 18th birthday, making them feel “on top of the world.”
To get to this stage was no easy feat. The men had to accrue 21 or more badges, create and complete an Eagle project, write several essays, request five recommendation letters, compile an application binder, and undergo an Eagle board of review. The whole process takes several years, 12 years to be exact for Ethan and Gavin. They became involved with the BSA Troop 755 in first grade. Their father, who was also a Scout, knew the benefits and opportunities it would bring his sons.
“I credit my dad,” reflected Ethan. “He has been by our side throughout our entire scouting career, from being our Den Chief to pushing us to take the next step. I can’t thank him enough for his support on my project, and for spending his Wednesday nights putting up with a bunch of screaming cub scouts. There were many times where my scouting spirit was wavering, but he was always there to keep me on the right track.”
Though the Eagle Scouts both credit their father for his influence, they also have a strong dedication and belief in the program and what it stands for.
“Most scout leaders tout leadership as scouting’s prime virtue, but I think that the “get-it-done” attitude I learned was just as important,” said Gavin when thinking about the most valuable lessons he learned during his Scout career. In the same vein, Ethan shared that Scouts must always be prepared to adapt to anything. “From my time in scouting, I have learned that if something can go wrong, it will. You have to be prepared for these situations and find a quick fix to these problems.”
Earning the Eagle Scout rank means Scouts not only have to complete the forementioned steps, but during the entirety of their time in BSA they must uphold The Scout Oath:
1. Duty to God and your country, and to obey the Scout Law;
2. To help other people at all times;
3. To keep physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
The Eagle Scouts’ mother, Lisa Williams, reflected on her fond memories of the projects her sons worked on that were direct reflections of living the Scout Oath, including assisting in the Flight of Valor for World War II Veterans and the Scout tradition of remembering fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. Imagine middle school boys setting up camp and cooking dinner over a fire they built by hand. These are a few examples of assignments Ethan and Gavin had to successfully accomplish over the years in order to climb the ranks in the BSA organization.
“It literally makes my heart sing and swell with pride to see them achieve their goal,” said Mrs. Williams. “It took great diligence, effort, a sense of service and duty to keep that goal in the forefront through many years and turn it into a reality. For them to grow from the little Scouts to the ones that now lead young Scouts – it’s inspiring. It’s all about the growth and transformation.”
These lessons of leadership have and will easily translate into future scenarios the students plan to encounter. Gavin hopes his rank will help earn him consideration at Ivy League colleges, while Ethan also hopes that the credential will be recognized as a symbol of his perseverance, determination and commitment by colleges and future employers.
For students interested in earning the Eagle Scout title, Ethan and Gavin recommend being diligent and completing the paperwork early.
“Paperwork is so, so important. Keep track of everything, especially when you are completing your Eagle Scout project,” said Gavin. “While there is work, there is also play,” added Ethan. “I can wholeheartedly say that I enjoyed many aspects of achieving this rank. Also, don’t leave it until the last minute. It will make things infinitely harder.”
The young men shared that one of their favorite things about being a Scout is the community that the organization offers to its members. Thanks to their diligence, the Catholic Central students share a rank with some of America’s most successful men such as Neil Armstrong, Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg.
“No matter what you need or what question you have, all you have to do is ask. Say the word and there will be a group of people all trying to help you,” said Ethan.
Catholic Central sends its congratulations to Ethan and Gavin Williams and looks forward to the future endeavors their rank will allow them to explore.