Cody Swyers, a 15-year-old freshman at Steelville High School and a Boy Scout with Cuba’s Troop 463, has completed his final project in his quest to become an Eagle Scout. Now, he waits for the administrative process to be completed in order to achieve his goal.
Eagle Scout is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. According to the Boy Scouts of America website, “Since its inception in 1911, the term ‘Eagle Scout’ has been synonymous with the pinnacle of Scouting. It’s even found its way into the vernacular to mean ‘a straight-arrow and self-reliant man’ (Merriam-Webster Online). More than two million scouts—only four percent of overall Scout membership—have claimed the rank of Eagle Scout (from 1912 to 2011).”
To become an Eagle Scout, scouts must progress through the ranks in the following order: Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle. The scout must earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Camping, Family Life, Personal Management, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Cycling, Hiking, or Swimming. He must serve six months in a troop leadership position; plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for a religious, school or community organization; take part in a Scoutmaster conference; and successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
On Sunday February 3, Swyers presented the final portion of his Eagle service project to Geneva Adams, manager of Golden Echoes Resale Shop. Swyers’ project included building a donation drop box, completing basic building weatherization, painting new signs for parking and advertisement, and laying down gravel for the donation and parking area.
Golden Echoes Resale Shop is a non-profit organization that sells donated items from the community. The money raised through the store is used to help fund Steelville’s Meals on Wheels program. The organization also provides emergency clothing for people who have lost their home to fire. Prior to Swyers’ project, they did not have a donation drop box, so items were left at the back door, subject to the weather and theft. Now, community members can drop off donation items in a secure location.
The Eagle project is the culmination of work completed to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. The project must be one that offers improvement to the local community and has to be approved before it is undertaken. Swyers has been working on this achievement since his promotion to Life Scout in July of last year (a scout must be at that rank for a minimum of six months before becoming an Eagle Scout).
Swyers has been active in scouting since he was in the first grade. At that time, there were no groups in Steelville, so he joined the organization in Cuba and has stayed with that group. However, he wanted to complete his Eagle project in his hometown. As a Cub Scout, he earned the Arrow of Light Award, which is the highest award that can be earned at that level. He has served as Troop Historian for the past nine months. He has participated in numerous other community service projects, including Stream Team clean ups and Scouting for Food. He has also served as Den Chief for local Cub Scout packs.
Swyers expressed appreciation to all who supported him through this endeavor. That backing came from Golden Echoes, Ruby Wagner (Troop 463 Boy Scout leader/Venturing Advisor), Cindy Boda (BSA Osage District Unit Commissioner), Martin Construction, Mid-State Lumber, Perkins Lumber, Lowe’s of Sullivan and Rolla, Meramec Electrical Products, and Alan Grayson. He offered a special thanks to Bobby Ray and volunteers.