In his decade as a Scout Executive — first with the Sagamore Council of Kokomo, Ind., and now with the Mid-America Council of Omaha, Neb. — Chris Mehaffey figures he’s signed thousands of Eagle Scout rank applications.
It never gets old, Chris says. There’s something enduringly special about reviewing and certifying a young person’s accomplishments on the trail to Scouting’s highest honor.
But last month, that act took on even greater significance for Chris. This time, the name at the top of the application was Lacy Mehaffey, Chris’ daughter.
“That will be one of the proudest moments as a father and Scouter that I remember and reflect upon for the rest of my life,” Chris says.
After Lacy’s successful board of review, Chris looked at his daughter’s rank application and picked up his pen. He says he couldn’t help but flash back to a moment nine years earlier when Lacy was just 6 years old.
In his role as Scout Executive, Chris was working at a Cub Scout “haunted weekend” event. His wife brought his daughters for the day, wanting them to enjoy the games, bounce houses and hayride.
The Mehaffeys attended the evening campfire together and toasted marshmallows for s’mores before heading home.
“It was in the car on the way home, at 6 years old, that Lacy asked to become a Cub Scout,” Chris says.
This was the fall of 2012, so the answer unfortunately was no. But a few years later, when the BSA announced it would welcome girls into all programs, Lacy again had a question for her dad: “When can you sign me up?”
The answer this time was February 2019, the first moment young women could join Scouts BSA. Lacy joined Troop 1885, and in less than three years has transformed from a quiet, reserved girl into a confident young women leading a troop of 22 fellow Scouts.
“What we do matters, and I have seen the impact Scouting has on our children firsthand,” Chris says.
Back at the conference room table, Chris signed his name on the application.
After a moment, Lacy leaned toward her dad and said, “There are now two Eagle Scouts in our family.”
“It was such a special moment,” Chris says. “I’m proud of my daughter for her accomplishment, and I’m proud to serve an organization that has such a positive impact on the future leaders of our communities.”
The Scouting family
Lacy has never known a life without Scouting. Her dad became a BSA professional in 2000 — before Lacy was even born.
Chris became an Eagle Scout as a member of the Tukabatchee Area Council of Alabama. While in college at Auburn University, Chris worked summers at Scout camp — eventually becoming the program director. In that role, he was encouraged by BSA professionals Jeff Isaac and Phil Shipley to give professional Scouting a try.
“I will always be grateful to those two guys for taking a chance on me all those years ago,” Chris says.
Lacy was born in 2006 in Plano, Texas. At the time, Chris was working as a field director in the Circle Ten Council.
Whenever possible, Chris would take his family to Scouting events.
“It was not only a way for me to be able to spend time with them but also to share what I do with them,” Chris says. “Any time I was headed to camp, Lacy was always right there wanting to go. Through those times, I got to see her develop a love of swimming, learn how to fish, shoot a BB gun for the first time, and try her hand at bows and arrows.”
The proud Eagle Scout
The way Lacy remembers it, Scouting has just been a constant in her life — like the sun rising every morning. And being the child of a BSA professional meant spending lots of time at fun, outdoorsy places.
“We were constantly heading to camp for some reason or another,” Lacy says. “Whether my dad was taking our entire family to camp for the day or when he would bring home a Pinewood Derby kit for us to build together, Scouting was just part of our life.”
Wanting to give Lacy meaningful outdoor experiences, her parents tried enrolling her in other activities. But nothing stuck.
“I always knew Scouting is where I belonged,” Lacy says. “Before girls were admitted into the BSA program, I had been counting down the days until I was old enough to join the Venturing program.”
But then February 2019 came, and Lacy didn’t have to be just the Scout Executive’s daughter. Now she was a Scout, just like everyone else.
“I always saw the fun and adventure of Scouting, but I was surprised by how much I liked being able to teach and share that fun and adventure with younger kids,” Lacy says. “I had not seen that side of Scouting before being in a troop myself.”
She also enjoyed giving back. For her Eagle Scout service project, Lacy built a buddy bench at a local elementary school. It’s a place for kids who feel left out or want someone to play with them at recess.
“Because of Scouts, my family has moved a lot,” Lacy says. “Making friends was a hard challenge for me. So knowing that the Buddy Bench might help other kids facing a similar situation makes me feel good.”
Lacy also feels good knowing that she and her dad share a special bond after having conquered the same challenge.
“I have always shared my dad’s love for the outdoors and camping. And now, we get to share the love of Scouting together,” Lacy says. “Scouting has given me so many fun times and memories with my dad that I know I will always cherish. It’s pretty cool to say that I am an Eagle Scout, just like my dad.”