Clay County’s Boy Scout Troop 123 celebrated the rare occasion of having not just one, but four scouts who had all recently achieved scouting’s highest and most prestigious rank- Eagle Scout.
For more than 100 years, the rank of Eagle Scout has remained one of the most recognized and respected awards that a youth can receive. The award’s reputation has been preserved by maintaining high standards over the years. The Eagle Scout rank is the culmination of a multi-year process where the scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, community service, outdoor skills, and personal fitness.
Only about five percent of scouts ever become Eagle Scouts.
“We are very pleased and very proud of these four young men,” said Scoutmaster James Summers. “Not only is it a well deserved recognition of the scouts’ achievements, it is also a boon for the county.” One of the requirements to reach the Eagle Scout rank is for the scout to lead a community service project.
Tyler Lough led his scout troop in renovating an abandoned cemetery. Charlie Isaacs oversaw an upgrade of the playground equipment at a local school. Grant Young’s team built and installed a return box for lost discs at the county’s disc golf course in Maysel. John Summers recruited volunteers and led an effort to remove several truckloads of trash from 30 miles of the Elk River. The four projects included up to 20 volunteers working on each project to carry out the scout’s work plan, totaling nearly 500 hours of volunteer labor.
Tyler Lough and Grant Young are seniors at Clay County High School, Charlie Isaacs is a senior at Clay Christian Academy, and John Summers is a homeschooled 10th grader. All four have been involved in scouting since at least first or second grade.
During the ceremony, Grant Young presented his grandfather Brad Nester with a “mentor pin” to recognize his grandfather’s influence during his years of scouting. Nester, who had earned Eagle Scout back in 1972, said he was thankful for the lifetime of memories of scouting. “I would have never guessed when I was going to scout camp in the 1960’s that I’d be back fifty years later with my grandson.”
Charlie Isaacs presented a mentor pin to his aunt, Loretta Gray. While his aunt wasn’t involved directly with the scouting venture, Charlie said she was always there along the way to give him encouragement and help whenever he needed it.
All of the Eagle Scouts also “pinned” their mothers, a traditional part of the Eagle Scout ceremony. The four scout’s fathers have been very active in the Boy Scout program and they each presented their son with the Eagle Scout neckerchief as part of the ceremony.
Pastor Gary Drake of Clay First Baptist Church, where the ceremony was held, delivered the charge to the new Eagle Scouts, challenging them to take the training they had received and use it in their life ahead.
“This was one of the best ceremonies I’ve ever seen. It was very traditional,” said Sam Wilkes, a scout leader from Troop 2 in Charleston who had traveled to Clay to see the special event. “It reminded me of the old grainy black and white videos you see on Youtube showing a court of honor from the 1950’s.”
Summers said that Troop 123 does strive to maintain a traditional boy scout program. “That’s what we do,” he said. “It’s who we are.”
Assistant Scoutmaster Eric Lough, the father of one of the new Eagle Scouts, has another son working his way up through the ranks. Lough said the troop will be working to recruit more boys. “We have several guys that are turning 18 and aging out, so we’re definitely looking for some younger ones to come in and keep the troop going strong.”
Cub Scouts has long been the primary recruiting ground for Boy Scout Troops, as the Cubs cross over into Boy Scouts once they’re old enough. But since COVID began, a lot of Cub Scout Packs have folded.
“Scouting is still doing a lot of good work – both in the community and in the lives of those involved,” Summers said. “We need to keep it going. We need to keep the good stuff happening.”
Troop 123 currently meets on Monday evenings at the Big Otter VFD. This is the only scout troop still operating in the county. If you know a boy, age 11-16, who is interested in joining the Boy Scout Troop, contact scoutmaster James Summers at 304-587-7959.