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New Eagle Scouts grew and achieved together
By Karl Forsgaard
Special to the Reporter
A year ago, the Reporter printed a story about the Eagle Scout awards given to members of Mercer Island Boy Scout Troop 457 who had been together for 10 years. Now another batch of scouts in the same troop have earned Scouting’s highest honor.
On March 15, Mercer Island Boy Scout Troop 457 honored six young men who recently received the organization’s highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout. The group came together when they joined the troop in 2002. The young men honored in the ceremony were John Paul Bruckner, Nick Forsgaard, Matt Fry, Cole Johnson, Leif Kjos and Saul Tilden.
When they became Boy Scouts in 2002, Troop 457 had about 18 new scouts their age. They formed two new patrols, since there were too many to fit in one patrol. There are already 11 Eagle Scouts from these two patrols.
Other Eagle Scouts that joined Troop 457 in 2002 include Mickey Ayzenberg, Phillip Foster, Nate Nudelman, Galen Thomas and Michael Wales. They celebrated their Eagle Scout achievements in prior courts of honor. Two more patrolmates are finishing up, Michael Chien and Nick Skouras, making it 13 Eagles from one year’s “class.”
Nationwide, only two percent of scouts receive the Eagle Scout award. These scouts learned outdoor skills and citizenship by camping together in many places over the years. Their weekend campouts included sea kayaking across Puget Sound to Blake Island, and sleeping overnight in igloos that they built on Mt. Rainier in midwinter. They backpacked to the Olympic wilderness coast at Shi Shi Beach, as well as the Alpine Lakes and Glacier Peak Wildernesses, the North Cascades National Park interior, and up the Elwha River in the Olympics. They competed at the BSA Camporee at Ensign Ranch, biked in the Grand Coulee, went skiing and snowboarding from Camp Sheppard, beach-camped at Cape Disappointment, and held cooking competitions at Camp Parsons. They also took many day hikes and snowshoe trips in the Cascades.
To become an Eagle, a scout must earn Merit Badges in at least 21 different subject areas. In addition, a scout must plan and carry out an Eagle service project (an undertaking potentially more rigorous than the state’s new “culminating project” requirement in high school). For their Eagle projects:
John Paul Bruckner organized and ran a blood drive on Mercer Island for the Puget Sound Blood Center.
Nick Forsgaard oversaw the planting of 600 trees at the main trailhead parking area on Tiger Mountain for Mountains to Sound Greenway.
Matt Fry assembled a collection of books, videos and DVDs from Mercer Islanders and sent them to American soldiers in Iraq.
Cole Johnson organized the construction and placement of underwater trail signs for scuba divers at the Edmonds Underwater Park.
Leif Kjos helped construct a set of stairs at Groveland Beach Park on Mercer Island.
Saul Tilden led the preparation of meals for the residents of Tent City 4 for three days.