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Tupper Lake can now boast of three new Eagle Scouts

Dan McClelland

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Tupper Lake Boy Scout Troop 23 currently has three young men who have completed all of the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank. This is the top rank that can be achieved in Boy Scouts and is a rigorous and challenging commitment achieved by only four percent of scouts.

These new Eagle Scouts are Riley Gillis, Matthew Whitmore and Patrick Cote.

Twenty one merit badges must be completed, twelve of which are required and the remainder of which are chosen from a large list of electives. The required merit badges include such important life skills as cooking, first aid, emergency preparedness, personal fitness, and citizenship in the community, country, and world.

Each of these badges encompass many hours and sometimes even a month of work outside of the weekly scout meetings, and the boys must show independence in accomplishing the many facets of each merit badge while scheduling meetings with a merit badge counselor throughout to ensure that all requirements are met.

As boys move from the total support and group activities of Cub Scouts through the seven ranks of Boy Scouts they are expected to take more and more of a leadership role both in the Troop and in their community.

These three young men have progressed through all of the ranks and have now completed their Eagle Scout Projects and Boards of Review required to be full fledged Eagles. The projects are the culminating event for a scout and are required to enrich the community in some way but not benefit a business or an individual. Troop 23’s boys have taken their diverse activities and interests and put them to work for their community in their Eagle Scouts projects.

Matthew Whitmore chose to enrich his church, St. Thomas Episcopal, by creating parking for handicapped and less able folks and by repairing the ramp and entrance. He coordinated the materials and machinery needed to create the parking spaces while supervising a group of both adults and scouts.

He also ensured that the spaces follow ADA regulations and have proper signage.

Matthew also completed enough non-required Merit Badges to earn an Eagle Palm, which is a special award bestowed upon Eagle candidates who complete 5 additional merit badges beyond those needed for the Eagle rank. He is the first Scout in Troop 23 to earn this award.

Riley Gillis chose to enhance the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library. He repaired and upgraded the rear entrance and built a roof over the doorway to make it more weather friendly.

Riley coordinated numerous local contractors and construction workers, both adults and peers, who re-paved the entrance, removed and ground down an unsightly stump, and repaired the sidewalk to the door.

Patrick Cote chose to use his love of the outdoors and archery to upgrade the outdoor archery course at the Tupper Lake Rod and Gun Club. He organized both the adult archers and his fellow scouts in clearing some of the trail, building and installing bow racks on the course, and creating a map through GPS coordinates.

He then enlisted the assistance of a local forestry group to print the map and one of the troop's assistant scoutmasters used local wood and arrows to create a frame for it. It currently hangs in the indoor archery range.

The focus and goal of these projects is that the Scout develop successful coordination and leadership skills necessary to obtain materials, complete the work, and leave a lasting impact on the community.

Community residents may not know, but many other Eagle projects continue to be enjoyed in our community every day. For example, the large swim dock and basketball court at Little Wolf beach are the result of boys becoming Eagle Scouts. The beautiful pergola and seating in front of Mercy Living Center was done by an Eagle Scout, and the VFW proudly displays plaques in honor of those who have served our country due to an Eagle project. Even our school has benefited from these talented young men as they enhanced our Nature trail, added parking to our sports complex, and upgraded the center courtyard at LP Quinn.

The leaders of the local scout program are thankful for these talented young men and for the generous business men and women who donate their wares, their talents, and their time to Scouts and to all that our Scouts can bring to the local community, our country and our world.