More than 100 people joined Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva in honoring eight new Eagle Scouts christened January 29 after a long wait dictated by restrictions imposed on them by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The eight set the pace for a long-awaited ceremony at Grace Presbyterian Church with a presentation of the colors as Golden Gate Area Council’s Steve Bouer convened the National Court of Honor for the occasion.
Emotions ran high as some of the new eagles had waited three years to finally receive their rank. Others returned from college to participate in the evening’s ceremony. Lockdowns presented a significant challenge for local Scout Troop 302, interrupting the progress of lifelong achievement goals necessary to achieve the rank.
Additionally, no fewer than twenty-one specific merit badges are required, with at least one of those – Citizenship in Society – started as a new requirement during the pandemic’s resurgence – July 1, 2022.
“Scouting is an all-volunteer activity,” said Scoutmaster Adam Lorimer. “Troops cannot function without volunteers, specifically merit badge counselors, so when COVID removed over 80 percent of our merit badge counselors, we really started to suffer.”
Social gatherings the troop relied on for recruiting new members and for promoting existing scouts were put on hold due to social distancing requirements, the Troop turning to outdoor activities like hikes, bike rides, beach cleanups and camping in individual tents to keep the group going. They ran several car washes to raise money, collected items for COVID relief and ran food drives as part of their community service.
Their resilience came as no surprise to those who knew them. Troop 302 was one of the first in the nation to add a “G” or “Girls” Troop in 2018 and to send Scouts to the National and International “Scout Jamborees”. They consistently venture to the “High Adventures Camps” like Philmont, Northern Tier, Sea Base in Florida, and Bechtel (where the National Jamboree will be this year).
Now that their eight new Eagles will be moving on to college and beyond, the Troop will be actively recruiting both young Scouts and prospective merit badge counselors. An informational meeting for any East Bay residents who would like to become involved with Troop 302 will be held at 6pm on March 27th and April 24th in the Oak Room at Grace Presbyterian Church.
Do you also report on the Girl Scout Gold Award?
Why? Did you get one? ;-}
(Send us the info and we’ll take a look!)