Like all Scouting volunteers, Amanda Becker has a dozen different roles. But her proudest doesn’t come with a badge of office, and it won’t earn her a square knot.
The volunteer from the Cascade Pacific Council in Oregon is her family’s Eagle Encourager. She encouraged her three teenagers to work toward their goals but never crossed that ever-so-subtle line into the realm of Eagle Enforcer.
“It takes a lot of work for these young men and women to accomplish Eagle Scout,” she says. “I had to learn to really just be an encourager and let them fail at things. By watching them fail, they grew and learned new skills.”
Amanda set aside Sunday afternoons to spend a few minutes with each of her kids, asking them what goals they were going to set for the week. After that, she celebrated any goals they accomplished the previous week.
“This provided them a lot of encouragement, especially when they were struggling,” she says. “By being an encourager and letting them know I was there to listen, it motivated them to take another step.”
It’s safe to say Amanda has a pretty good track record as Eagle Encourager: she’s 3-for-3.
Last month, Amanda’s youngest finished her final requirements for the Eagle Scout Award. Now all three siblings — Aiden (16), Evelyn (15) and Elisabeth (14) — have completed the necessary steps to earn Scouting’s highest honor. Evelyn and Elisabeth will join the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts next month.
“I have watched them gain confidence in themselves and overcome challenges,” Amanda says. “I have watched them learn how to set goals that can take a while to accomplish. I’ve watched them learn that it is OK to fail. I’ve watched them grow into leaders. I just couldn’t be prouder of them for their spirit, perseverance, faith in God and the amazing people that they have become.”
We wanted to learn more about these amazing people, so we asked them 5 Quick Questions. Aiden, 16, is a member of Troop 294 of St. Helens, Ore. Evelyn, 15, and Elisabeth, 14, are members of Troop 5294 of St. Helens.
What was it like being on the Eagle Scout journey with your siblings?
Aiden: “I didn’t really notice any sibling rivalry at first, but when we were all doing Eagle Scout projects, I think we were a little competitive. After [my sisters] joined, I found I had close family to experience Scouting with me.”
Evelyn: “I have to admit, there were times when we didn’t get along or weren’t the best sports for one another, but in the end, we are all really proud of each other and what we accomplished. My siblings were what really motivated me — them and my parents — to become an Eagle Scout.”
Elisabeth: “Before Scouting, I was really shy when my siblings weren’t there. Scouts really helped with my confidence level. I’m really proud of all of us.”
What was the toughest merit badge, and why?
Aiden: “Cooking. It had a lot of requirements and took me a lot of time to complete. Also, I do not like cooking.”
Evelyn: “Hiking. We hiked every weekend until we had done all the hikes. When we started getting into the longer hikes, like the 15-miler, I was sore all week. We did the 20-mile hike in October, and it was dark before we even finished.”
Elisabeth: “Hiking. It was really time-consuming and tiring having to carry a heavy backpack to and from the destinations, but I still liked it.”
What was your Eagle Scout service project, and what did you learn along the way?
Aiden: “I built a nature trail to create a safe outdoor learning environment for the students at Columbia County Christian School. I learned that things don’t always go the way you planned and that sometimes you need to work around obstacles. It also tested my patience a lot and I learned to be more patient with the younger Scouts.”
Evelyn: “I built a fence by a ditch near Columbia County Christian School. The purpose of it is to keep kids safer and avoid falling into the ditch while walking around the school grounds. I learned that leadership takes effort. You can’t just sit there and expect everything to work out. It takes a motivated person to be a good leader. Being patient is a huge part of being a leader as well.”
Elisabeth: “I made a bridge at Columbia County Christian School so that way the kids can walk safely to and from the the building. During my project, I learned that building a bridge is harder than it seems, especially if you have no clue how to build a bridge. It also takes a lot of effort and motivation. I also learned that it is good to learn from your mistakes.”
Earning Eagle during COVID is a challenge that tested you greatly — and you should be proud of what you did. What was the toughest part of completing requirements during the pandemic?
Aiden: “I started my project before COVID but had to finish during the pandemic. It was only a challenge because I couldn’t have other Scouts that were not family help me during that part, which made it take a little longer to complete. I worked very hard to meet every requirement for my Eagle project and made sure to do it by the book.”
Evelyn: “I didn’t skip any requirements because of COVID, but I was able to compromise and figure out different ways of doing the requirements. Using my imagination, and creativity, I was able to find ways to do the requirements given the circumstances and with the materials I had available to me.”
Elisabeth: “Doing my Eagle project during COVID-19 helped me learn that with the right motivation, I can get the job done. You don’t need lots of people, just lots of motivation and effort.
What do you want to do after high school?
Aiden: “I want to go to college and join the Army National Guard or the Air Force. As an Eagle Scout, I would enter at a higher rank and would have a lot of the skills already learned before joining.”
Evelyn: “I plan on getting my driver’s license, getting a job and buying a car while I am still in high school. After high school, I want to go to a two-year college and get my associate’s degree, somewhere close to home. Then I want to go to a four-year college. After I have completed however many years of college are needed, I want to be a high school English teacher. I would also want a side career in vocal music.”
Elisabeth: “After high school, I want to become an artist. I want to travel around the world teaching people art because it seems really fun to go to places I have never been and meet people I’ve never met. Being an Eagle Scout will help me because getting to the rank of Eagle has taught me how good it feels to succeed at a goal you’ve set for yourself that took a long time to achieve. It also taught me to be myself no matter what and to be creative with the things I have been given.”
Now it’s your turn
Do you have an Eagle Scout sibling? What was it like growing up in that kind of household? Leave your comments below.