David Vomund
Special to the Bonanza

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August 23, 2012
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Flying like eagles: Best friends are newest residents to earn scoutingand#8217;s highest honor

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Ryan Collins and John Larson, members of Incline’s Boy Scout Troop 37, were awarded Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest honor, at the Eagle Court of Honor ceremony at Sierra Nevada College on Aug. 18.

Achieving Eagle Scout is no small task. Only 5 percent of scouts earn the rank, and one has to be very driven to complete the extensive performance-based requirements.

“The Eagle award is great to have, but the path to get there has been the most fun,” Collins said. “I had some life-changing adventures and met some terrific people along the way, for which I’m thankful.”

To advance, new scouts must fulfill requirements for the Tenderfoot badge, then Second Class and First Class. Merit badges and several hours of community service are required for the next two ranks — Star and Life.

For the final rank, Eagle, the scout must have earned at least 21 merit badges including required badges covering citizenship, first aid and fitness.

Perhaps the hardest part of attaining the Eagle Scout rank is the requirement to complete a service project. The scout must plan, organize, lead and manage a task that will benefit the community.

The project must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, the scoutmaster, the troop committee and the Boy Scout council.

Collins is an accomplished musician, so for his service project, he organized several concerts to entertain the guests at assisted living Called “Play it Forward,” Ryan’s concerts included both professional musicians and budding young artists.

Larson upgraded the Saint Francis of Assisi flag area by adding retaining walls, stairs to a walking path, new decorative rock, and a memorial plaque for each of the five armed forces.

“What’s cool about scouting is you learn anything and everything on any given subject,” Larson said. “Whether it was planning meals for campouts, lashing together a table, knowing the difference between a first- and second-degree burn, managing time and money, knot-tying, digging snow caves, orienteering, practicing ‘leave no trace,’ collecting food for charity, driving a boat, being mindful of my diet, folding a flag, or leading a group of people — scouting taught me how to do so much and allowed me to practice it in all sorts of settings.”

Both Larson and Collins took advantage of all that Scouting has to offer. They are members of the Order of the Arrow and have participated in Northern Tier canoeing, Philmont backpacking and Sea Base sailing.

At their final summer camp, these two best friends competed with each other to see who could earn the most merit badges. At the same time, they helped motivate the Troop to win the coveted “Mega Powell Award,” which signified the best troop at the camp.

“As an Eagle Scout, I hope to live by the values of Scouting to serve as an example for others to create cheerfulness and respect,” Larson said.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 23, 2012 12:18PM Published Aug 23, 2012 12:17PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.