Each one was different in its own right, but this one, by far is the most humble. Dan hand selected each of you to be here today, to take part in this simple ceremony, because each and every one of you contributed in some way to either his project, or to his development as a Scout and a citizen. As his Scoutmaster, and as his father, I thank you for that. It's my task now, to take what you have heard about the Eagle Rank and apply it this humble Scout, Dan Yarger.
|Mom pinning the Eagle|
While earning these, he advanced through the ranks of Boy Scout, Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, 1st Class, Star Scout, and Life Scout. Only then after 6 years worth of community service, weekly Troop meetings, campouts, merit badge sessions, and yes fundraising, was Dan eligible to develop his Eagle Scout project to attain this rank. His hard work brought him to that point, but I suspect that he never had a clue to the hard work that still awaited him in planning, documenting, leading and accomplishing this huge undertaking.
From the planning stage to the final completion of the trail, it was a 2 year endeavor, and put all of Dan's skills to the test. Dan appeared in front of the Town Board to gain approval for his plan. He walked the trails, and plotted out the 2 new loops, he measured them and tried to keep the environmental impact to a minimum. Several months after the start of the project, he planned clearing days, and organized large groups to remove the debris, and small wood. He named Scouts to lead each group, and he learned how to delegate tasks, like the chainsaw work and how to give leadership opportunities to others. When the trails were mapped and cleared, Dan set his sights on the next part of the project, fundraising to place 2 granite benches on each loop. The fundraiser he planned was one of the most unique and successful fundraisers that I have seen in the history of the Troop.
As many of you will remember it was an Italian dinner at Biaggi's in Victor, and once again, I watched Dan shine. He approached the restaurant and negotiated the meal and costs. He contacted a local band, Meyer and MacGuire, and solicited a donation of their time to provide entertainment for his guests. He worked with a family friend to print the tickets, and he filled the room to capacity that night, and he exceeded his fundraising goal by so much, he was able to purchase a permanent sign for a map to be placed at the front of the trail. There were 2 moments that evening, where it became evident to me that my duties as Scoutmaster for this Scout were quickly coming to a close. He was heckled slightly during his presentation, and I was astounded when he, unflustered, retorted the remark, and continued on with his talk. This skill he had certainly picked up doing the many presentations to the Troop and at summer camps, and he learned it well.
I also watched him power through his dinner, and then stand up and walk around to each and every table at the fundraiser to insure each of his guests were having a good time. No one had asked him to do it, it was quickly becoming instinct for Dan to do the right thing, unprompted. The mark of an Eagle Scout. He showed this same temerity several months later as the town started to do the rest of the work on the trail. Dan had no obligation to help with this work, he had more than the requisite number of hours to earn the badge and rank, but for those 2 days, Dan worked side by side with the Town to lay down the fabric, rake the stone, and even to drive the Skidsteer to help complete the project....his project. Dan did an excellent job negotiating the purchase of the sign and benches too, and one of his last duties was to mark the spot on each trail for their placement on the trail. They are there now, and conveniently placed, so you don't have to walk for more than a quarter of a mile before you have a place to sit. The project in total had over 250 man hours invested in it.
"A truly remarkable project, and one of the most significant projects I have seen in my Scouting career". Oh, those aren't my words, those were our Council's Advancement Chair for Eagles. He was so impressed with the scope of Dan's project, that he nominated it for the Eagle Scout project of the year. Dan, this winter, attended that dinner and while he lost to another project in the Rochester area, he gained another benefit, a mentor assigned to him who is a full partner in one of the most recognized law firms in Rochester. I suspect this may be of great benefit to Dan as he pursues his interest in law and politics in college over the next 7 years, but the Scoutmaster in me, wonders if Dan's mentor, might learn from Dan too? Time will tell.
|The Eagle has landed.|