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This summer, Eagle Scouts will bicycle across America to prove a point

eagle-scouts-across-america patchIt sounds like the trailer for a summer blockbuster:

In a world saturated by television, smartphones and video games, one group of Scouts dares to step outside and show the world they still value the outdoors, exercise and self-discipline.

But this is better than a Hollywood movie.

As first reported on the Boys’ Life Scouting Around blog, a group of Eagle Scouts from Troop 165 out of Fredericksburg, Va., have a point to prove: Motivated young men still exist in this world, and many of them developed their character in Scouting.

How will they prove it? As you probably guessed by the headline, they’ll ride their bikes from San Francisco to Virginia Beach, Va. That’s 3,770 miles in 63 days, including some rest days.

“Our mission is to demonstrate how motivated young men, committed to the values of exercise and healthy living, practice the 12 points of the Boy Scout Law while challenging themselves to reach new heights,” according to a statement on the trip’s website.

The journey, which begins June 8, will take them through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia.

Are you an Eagle Scout living along that route? Continue reading

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Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds is an Eagle Scout

imagine-dragons-2Here’s some news that rocks.

Long before he helped Imagine Dragons win a Grammy Award, an American Music Award and a Teen Choice Award, lead singer Dan Reynolds earned the Eagle Scout Award.

Yes, the vocalist for the band that MTV in 2013 called “the year’s biggest breakout band” got his start in Scouting. Reynolds, now 26, earned the BSA’s top rank in 2005 as a member of a Scout unit chartered to the LDS church in Nevada.

His life since has been equally impressive, with his band’s platinum-selling debut album, Night Visions, racking up 2 million copies sold in the U.S. alone.

The band’s best-known song is “Radioactive,” which Rolling Stone magazine called “the biggest rock hit of the year.”

But the Eagle Scout frontman’s life hasn’t always involved tricked-out tour buses and sold-out arenas. Continue reading

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After conquering America’s summits, teen Eagle Scout sets sights on Everest

matt_moniz_climbing_3Matt Moniz and his dad, Mike, needed just six weeks and a day to climb to the highest point in every U.S. state. That’s faster than anyone in history.

I’m talking 50 summits — from Alaska’s 20,322-foot Denali to Florida’s 345-foot Britton Hill — in just 43 days. The time broke the previous record by more than two days.

Oh, and did I mention Matt was just 12 years old at the time?

The feat got the attention of National Geographic, which named this “Kid Climber” one of its 2010 Adventurers of the Year.

Four years later, the Eagle Scout is ready to conquer another summit. And this time he’s hoping to stand atop the tallest point on the planet.

The Boulder, Colo., 16-year-old and his dad left last week to start their quest to summit Mount Everest, elevation 29,029 feet. Continue reading

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Chris Evans’ Captain America was inspired by an Eagle Scout

captain-america-posterCaptain America and Eagle Scouts: Both wear uniforms, and of course they’re both patriotic and brave.

But recently I learned the shield-toting Avenger has even more in common with young men who earn Scouting’s highest award than you might think.

Chris Evans, the actor who plays the titular superhero in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (opening Friday), says “Cap” was modeled after an Eagle Scout he knew from growing up in Sudbury, Mass.

In an interview with the awesome Geek Dad blog, the actor says his friend, an Eagle Scout with the Knox Trail Council, inspired how Evans approaches the role. Continue reading

antarctica-hiking

An Eagle Scout in Antarctica: Icebergs, penguins and unbelievable views

On the bottom of the world right now, Eagle Scout Alex Houston is having an experience that tops all others.

I already introduced you to Alex and told you about his time in Ushuaia, Argentina, as he prepared for the journey by boat to Antarctica. As a reminder, he’s the Eagle Scout selected to join an expedition called 2041 that’s exploring the Antarctic Peninsula to research its ecology, wildlife and the importance of renewable energy in shaping the future of Antarctica. When they return, Alex and the expedition founder will share their findings with the BSA at the 2014 Sustainability Summit.

Alex and the explorers arrived safely to Antarctica and got their satellite uplink working, meaning we get our first chance to hear from the Lawrence, Kan., Eagle Scout about his first few days in the world’s most-remote continent.

Despite an environment that seems practically unlivable, Alex had some fascinating encounters with wildlife, including humpback whales, leopard seals and Gentoo penguins, which were “considerably louder and smellier than one would imagine.”

He even got the chance to take some incredible hikes, and on one his group was the first to reach the summit — no big surprise for a Scout.

Read Alex’s latest report and see more photos after the jump.  Continue reading

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An Eagle Scout in Antarctica: Days 1 & 2

Well, he made it. After enduring the 30-hour, 6,680-mile, three-flight trip from Lawrence, Kan., to Ushuaia, Argentina, Eagle Scout Alex Houston already has plenty of stories to tell.

I introduced you to Alex last week. He’s the Eagle Scout selected to join an expedition called 2041 that will explore the Antarctic Peninsula to research its ecology, wildlife and the importance of renewable energy in shaping the future of Antarctica. When they return, Alex and the expedition founder will share their findings with the BSA at the 2014 Sustainability Summit.

Alex will travel by icebreaker to Antarctica next, but first he spends a few days in Ushuaia, considered the southernmost city in the world.

I’m sure you, like me, wish you could join Alex on this adventure of a lifetime. Instead, we’ll settle for the next-best thing: stories from Alex himself.

As his Internet connection and schedule allow, Alex will send me updates from his trip. This may get more difficult once he arrives at Earth’s most-remote continent, but for now let’s enjoy his first dispatch, which recaps Days 1 and 2 in which he saw new sights, tried new food and made new friends: Continue reading

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Seriously cool: Kansas Eagle Scout leaves for Antarctica today

Alex-HoustonAlex, you’re not in Kansas anymore.

Alex Houston, an Eagle Scout from Lawrence, Kan., is leaving today on an international expedition to Antarctica. He was selected from among several Eagle Scout applicants to represent the BSA on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The 30-hour trip to Ushuaia, Argentina, begins today. From there he’ll take an icebreaker to Antarctica for a two-week expedition.

Alex and his fellow team members are there to do more than just take photos and gawk at glaciers. The expedition, called 2041, will explore the Antarctic Peninsula to research its ecology, wildlife and the importance of renewable energy in shaping the future of Antarctica.

The trip’s leader is the British explorer Robert Swan, the first person to walk to both poles. Swan and Alex will present their findings this fall at the BSA’s 2014 Sustainability Summit, held in West Virginia.

Getting to Ushuaia — let alone Antarctica — from eastern Kansas won’t be easy. Ushuaia is considered the southernmost city in the world, and it’s 6,680 miles (as the crow flies) from Lawrence. Alex will fly from Kansas City, Mo., to Atlanta. That’s a two-hour flight. After a layover he’ll hop a plane for the 10-hour trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Another layover, then it’s a three-and-a-half-hour flight to Ushuaia. I’m exhausted just typing all that.

The team will explore Ushuaia for a couple of days before taking an icebreaker through the Drake Passage to Antarctica.

In an interview on KLWN-AM radio in Lawrence, Continue reading

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2013 Eagles: Don’t miss your chance to be in the ‘Eagle Scout Yearbook’

Yearbooks are priceless windows into the past, and the Eagle Scout Yearbook, Class of 2013 will be no exception.

To make it happen, though, the National Eagle Scout Association needs your help to fill the yearbook’s pages with the stories of the 56,841 young men who earned Eagle last year.

If you or a young man you know earned the Eagle Scout rank in 2013, make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to be a part of this momentous opportunity. The yearbook is an exciting new tradition started last year (and something I wish was around when I earned my Eagle Scout award in 1999).

We normally associate yearbooks with high school, but the journey toward Scouting’s highest honor has a lot in common with the journey toward graduation.

“We see getting the Eagle Scout rank as on par with getting a high school diploma,” says Ryan Larson, associate director of NESA. “A yearbook lets these Eagle Scouts track this moment in history. They can look back 30 or 40 years from now at those memories.”

If they haven’t already, members of the 2013 Eagle Scout class will soon hear from the company that NESA commissioned to make the book, Publishing Concepts (PCI).

Dallas-based PCI publishes directories for educational institutions, fraternities, sororities and military organizations across the nation. They’ve been around for 30 years, so they know what they’re doing.

PCI will contact 2013 Eagle Scouts Continue reading

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Dennis Pitta, Eagle Scout and Baltimore tight end, gets 5-year deal

pitta-standingThey say once you’re an Eagle Scout, you’re one for life.

For Eagle Scout Dennis Pitta, the same may be true about being a Baltimore Raven.

The Super Bowl-winning tight end just signed a five-year deal worth $32 million, according to the Baltimore Sun. Not a bad payday for this Brigham Young University graduate who made time for both Scouting and sports growing up.

After helping his team win Super Bowl XLVII, he chatted with Boys’ Life for the magazine’s Heads Up blog. He said how being an Eagle Scout influenced him.

“From an early age, it teaches you a lot,” he said. “It teaches you about discipline, it teaches you about hard work and being independent and you learn a lot of like skills in that program. It’s helped me throughout my whole career.” Continue reading

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Eagle Scouts Holcomb and Fogt bringing home the bronze in four-man bobsled

bobsleddersAs teenagers, they received red, white and blue Eagle Scout medals.

This morning, clad in the red, white and blue of Team USA, Steven Holcomb and Chris Fogt got bronze Olympic ones.

The Eagle Scouts were two of the four members of the USA-1 “Night Train 2″ team, which also included Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Langton.

What always fascinates me about Olympic sports is the margins separating medal winners and also-rans. The USA-1 team finished just 0.39 seconds behind the gold-medal-winning Russia-1 sled. That’s a length of time gone faster than you can say “physically strong.”

Even closer was the gap between third and fourth place. USA-1 (3:40.99) edged out Russia-2 (3:41.02) by three one-hundredths of a second. Wow. And remember that those times are the sum of four runs down the track.

Holcomb, who won bronze in the two-man bobsled last week, is the first American to win two bobsled medals at a Winter Olympics since 1952. And with three total bobsled medals (he won four-man gold in Vancouver), Holcomb now is tied with Patrick Martin for the most in Team USA history.

Still, as you’d expect with any competitor, Holcomb wished for more. Continue reading