Matthew is in 11th grade. This is his third year in Journalism. He does Debate and is a Eagle Scout. In the future he hopes to attend Liberty University...
Photo Courtesy of Matt Gresham
A Troop of Eagles
February 8, 2023
In 2022, five members of Fluvanna’s Scouting Troop 154 achieved their goals of becoming Eagle Scouts, the highest rank in scouting. This is no easy task, as of all the scouts that go through scouting, only 4% of achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. This select group of scouts now includes FCHS students Jackson Landsberg ‘22, Jack Moncure ‘22, Caleb Kimble ‘23), Zach Davis ‘23), and Drew Cavanaugh ‘23.
“My favorite part about earning Eagle is that I got to join a small group of scouts that earn this rank and feeling like I made an impact in the community with my project,” said Kimble, who earned Eagle Scout on Aug, 4, 2022. “My favorite part about earning Eagle would probably be just the fact that I earned it. Having something that you have been working on since 1st grade and finally accomplishing it 11 years later is an adventure in itself,” said Davis, who earned his Eagle award on Sept. 7, 2022.
Every scout’s experience of the road to Eagle is very different. “[On a scale of 1 to 10 in difficulty], I would give it a 9. It took a lot of time, endurance and patience to get to the end. And a lot of paperwork,” said Davis, who built a kiosk and hitching post for Pleasant Grove. Cavanaugh agreed that it was not an easy road. “I had two previous iterations of my project get shut down in various stages of development, and though I did not have to deal with the logistics of construction like most other Eagle projects, I did have to manage a great deal of food and supplies throughout two weeks,” he said. He conducted a food drive for the Fluvanna SPCA.
Along the way, a scout needs to earn 21 merit badges, and usually there is one that stands out from the rest. “My favorite merit badge I earned would probably be Welding because I got to learn a new trade,” said Davis. “Emergency Preparedness was my favorite Eagle merit badge due to the activities we did during the badge and because I did not have to do any of the pre-requirements,” said Cavanaugh.
With earning Eagle Scout being such a big accomplishment, it can be a relief when it is done. Kimble, who earned his Eagle Scout just days before his 18th birthday, said he was relieved, but “also a mix of happy and sad. Happy because I had earned the highest rank in scouting and that I got to celebrate with my friends in the troop, and sad because I was aging out soon. So it was more or less the end of the road for my scouting career as far as I could see.”
Earning the rank may be an individual accomplishment, but it often runs in families. Cavanaugh, for instance, earned his Eagle Scout about 50 years to the day his grandfather earned his Eagle.
After spending years earning the Eagle ranking, scouts are sure to have some favorite stories of the experience. “My favorite story from scouts is probably at Philmont [a New Mexico ranch where scouts hike 30 or more miles],” said Kimble. “So we had just hiked six miles in the desert to our campsite. We had gotten our camp set up and our ranger Danny started telling us stories. He told us a story about how he ran into a mountain lion when he was in McBride’s Canyon (the campsite we were at at the time) and he dove back into his tent.”
Kimble continued, “After dinner and a couple more stories we went to bed. Next thing I know my tent buddy Zach [Davis] woke me up at 3 am ’cause he had to use the bathroom and wanted me to watch for mountain lions. So I had to watch and make sure there were none while he used the bathroom. The funny thing is that he woke me up at 3 am again the next night when we were in a totally different campsite outside of mountain lion territory.”
Davis shared a similar story. “We were backpacking in Philmont, New Mexico, and we set up camp in a pasture with tall grass. We were fixing dinner when all of a sudden, a goat came out of nowhere and started wrecking our camp. We tried to poke and prod it away, but it kept coming back. So I eventually picked up the goat and brought it to the campsite beside ours and left it with the other backpacking crew for them to deal with,” he said.