No Eagle Scout reaches that mountaintop moment alone.
While the young person initiates and completes the work themselves, they are supported by a team of selfless adults. That team includes parents and volunteers who serve as coaches and mentors, and it also includes adults these future Eagle Scouts may never meet.
Often working behind the scenes, the individuals in that latter group help elevate dozens, hundreds or even thousands of young people to Scouting’s highest honor. And they often do so without recognition or credit.
The BSA council in Memphis, Tenn., is among a number of councils hoping to change that.
Since 1972, the Chickasaw Council has named each new class of Eagle Scouts after an adult in honor of their service to Scouting. Honorees have included financial backers, longtime volunteers and even a council professional who processed thousands of Eagle Scout applications in her 60-year career.
“We’re proud to have so many dedicated volunteers in the Chickasaw Council and the thoughtful ways to show appreciation for their continued support,” says Richard Fisher, the council’s Scout Executive.
The council’s latest class is officially called the 2019 William P. Litton Class of Eagle Scouts.
Litton, a Silver Beaver award recipient and the chairman of John Deere dealership Wade Inc., has been a faithful volunteer and supporter of the Scouting movement for decades. Litton and his wife, Ann, have three Eagle Scout grandchildren and a fourth who’s on track to earn Eagle soon.
We talked to Holly Cooper, the council’s chief communications officer, to learn more about this inspiring council tradition.
How they’re selected
Each year’s honoree is selected by a council committee and approved by the Scout Executive.
To be chosen, the person, couple or family must have made a positive impact on the council and been devoted to “seeing that our Scouts have the best chance of attaining Scouting’s highest rank,” Cooper says.
During normal, non-pandemic times, the honoree or a representative of their family personally presents an Eagle Scout neckerchief to each new Eagle.
It’s a tradition that gives the new Eagle Scouts and their families a chance to personally thank these unsung heroes of Scouting. And it gives the honoree (or their family) visible evidence of just how important their service has been.
Because of COVID-19, this year’s Eagle Scout recognition event was held over Zoom. Each new Eagle Scout received their neckerchief via mail and had their parents tie it onto their uniform.
Some previous council honorees include:
- Dolly Nabors, office manager for 60 years who processed thousands of Eagle Scout applications
- The Gilmer Family, longtime Scouters who even have a campsite at Philmont Scout Ranch that bears their name
- Robert Freedman, an attorney who supported Scouting’s efforts to reach underserved communities
- Buddy Crenshaw, who attended more than 1,000 Eagle Scout courts of honor
- Dr. Hugh Monteith, a supporter of rural Scouting across the Delta Area
- The Janoush Family, major supporters of Scouting throughout the area
- John Pitts, a leader and financial supporter of Scouting who has been a part of Eagle Scout boards of review for years
Many other councils do this, too
This is not the only BSA council that honors Scouters by naming an Eagle Scout class after them.
In the comments below, share how your council uses Eagle Scout recognition events as a way to honor the men and women who helped these Eagle Scouts reach their goal.