It’s a good thing the Eagle Scout court of honor was held outside, because it meant Brad Guyton could blame those tears in his eyes on the bright sun.
“I didn’t cry at my wedding or when my kids were born,” Brad says. “I am not an outwardly emotional guy.”
But last month, Brad couldn’t help but get emotional as he watched his son, Tyler, receive his Eagle Scout Award and address the crowd of 90 people with the confidence of a young man who was just a boy not that long ago.
“I somehow kept it together, but when he spoke, there may have been a tear or two,” Brad says. “It was a magical day for us and arguably the best day we have had since before COVID.”
It wasn’t just the drive and motivation — tempered with humility — that Tyler exhibited on his trail to Eagle. It wasn’t just the chance to see the friends and family who gathered to celebrate Tyler, cheering his achievement with root beer floats and cinnamon-apple doughnuts made in the Dutch oven.
It was also that Brad couldn’t help but think of his own father, Thomas “Pappy” Guyton, who died five years ago. Sitting beside his dad’s death bed, Brad asked his father for some final words of advice.
Thomas urged his son to care for his family above all. And then he passed along one more request.
“He wanted to make sure that Tyler had access to the same Scouting adventures that he, my grandfather and I had,” Brad says.
It was a promise Brad kept.
On Aug. 17, 2021 — exactly 65 years after Thomas Guyton became an Eagle Scout — Tyler completed his board of review to earn his Eagle Scout Award. And in doing so, he became a rare fourth-generation Eagle Scout.
Tyler’s great-grandfather, Harold “Pappy” Guyton; his grandfather, Thomas “Pappy” Guyton; and his dad, Dr. Brad Guyton, are all Eagle Scouts.
A Scout’s commitment
Tyler Guyton joined Troop 888 of Evergreen, Colo. (Denver Area Council), just after his 11th birthday.
While many Scouts dream of earning Eagle, Tyler’s goal included one additional element. To honor his late grandfather, Tyler wanted to earn Eagle exactly 65 years after Aug. 17, 1956, the date “Pappy” became an Eagle Scout.
Achieving that goal would mean Tyler would need to earn Eagle at age 13, which is possible but very difficult. It would mean many sacrifices — giving up free time on weekends to earn merit badges and putting Scouting ahead of other activities, like the swim team.
But accomplishing tough things is a family tradition, and Tyler reached his goal.
“I completed all the requirements with integrity and have learned a lot,” he says. “It is a lot of pressure to honor the family name, but I’m proud because this award will go very far in life. My dad and grandfather have told me how people respect you more and will give you more responsibly as an Eagle Scout.”
Brad was impressed when Tyler told him about his plan to earn Eagle at 13. He was never going to push Tyler along, but he didn’t have to anyway.
“He told me, ‘I want to do this at my own pace. I have my own goals.’ From that point on, it was all Tyler. We didn’t have to drive his motivation, and our role became only driving him from place to place,” Brad says. “That is the part I am most proud of — he owned this. And while he decided on an accelerated path in honor of his grandfather, he never cut corners. He was all in and did the hard work.”
A father’s pride
Brad Guyton earned Eagle as a member of Troop 370 of Tyler, Texas. He was his troop’s 50th Eagle Scout.
“My dad and grandfather participated and showed me all of the adventures you could be a part of as a kid and teenager,” Brad says. “We had a great troop with all kinds of kids from different backgrounds and some very humble and kind Scout leaders that were dedicated to the Scout Law. They empowered us to have all kinds of fantastic experiences in the outdoors.”
Brad models his parenting style off what he witnessed from his dad. He refuses to hover over his son’s every move because his dad never was that helicopter parent.
“I remember I lost my Totin’ Chip three times because I made stupid mistakes. He let me learn,” Brad says. “I did the same thing with my son. I don’t always attend all campouts, and I don’t attend all the nights at summer camp because the freedom he has to learn from others aside from me is critical. That space often has proven more valuable than my coaching and has built his confidence.”
A mother’s support
Allison Guyton became aware of what she calls “the Guyton Scouting legacy” when she started dating Brad.
“The entire basement was filled with shadow boxes of Scout awards,” she says.
She now handles the Troop 888 medical forms as a member of the troop committee. And she’s been impressed by Tyler’s drive toward the Eagle Scout Award.
“We provided minimal oversight,” she says, “but a lot of driving.”
Like Brad, Allison is thankful for the adult leaders who have been a core part of Tyler’s Scouting journey so far.
“We are so grateful for the immense hours from all the adults to provide these opportunities and atmosphere of embracing the outdoors,” she says. “Kids do not have enough opportunities to experience Colorado’s natural beauty.”
And that’s a perfect reminder of the value of Scouting in 2021 and beyond.
Brad says it’s gotten harder to become an Eagle Scout these days — more difficult than when he, his father or his grandfather earned the award.
“Kids have so many competing priorities and technology that gets in the way,” he says. “Pressures in school are tougher at a younger age now.”
But Brad believes Scouting’s fundamental purpose hasn’t changed in the 90 years that the Guyton family has been involved. It’s about building memories that last a lifetime — with the help of volunteers who truly care about our country’s future.
“They are great human beings, like Tyler’s Scoutmaster and assistant Scoutmasters, that give so much of their time and energy to help young boys and girls leave their computers and phones behind and have real adventures with real opportunities for growth and joy and disappointment,” Brad says. “It’s the scraped knees, wet boots, whittled sticks, swim tests and hikes into the unknown that make the memories that last a lifetime.”
As for the next generation of the Guyton Scouting legacy, Brad hopes that his son or daughter, Ava, will introduce Scouting to their children some day — perhaps becoming a fifth-generation Guyton Eagle.
Says Brad: “I guess that means I better stay in shape and keep hiking.”