Five Snoqualmie Valley Scouts Complete Eagle Projects During the Pandemic

As a failed Bluebird, I know nothing about Scouting. So, when Rita Schriver from Troop 466 of Snoqualmie and North Bend emailed to tell me about the troop’s five newest Eagle Scouts: Henry Otto, Erik Diegel, Aidan Schriver, Riley and Rory Bates. I had quite a bit of learning to do.

Schriver explained that Scouting starts in the first grade as a Tiger Scout, probably the equivalent of my bluebird failure.  Then the boys move on through the Cub Scout program from 1st grade to 4th grade.  After which, they become part of Webelos from 4th grade to 5th grade. Finally, boy Scouts start in the later part of 5th grade or at ten years old until the age of 18 years. 

Troop 466 Eagle Scouts 2020-2021
L to R:  Erik Deigel, Henry Otto, Riley Bates, Rory Bates, and Aidan Schriver

An Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Boy Scouts.  Only about 7% of Boy Scouts will ever achieve this rank.  The goal of Scouting is a combination of citizenship, character development, and personal fitness.  Some Eagle Scouts of note include:

  • Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon
  • Bill Gates, Sr., CEO of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates
  • H. Ross Perot, founder of Perot Systems Corp., former presidential candidate
  • Mike Rowe, host of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel
  • Steven Spielberg, Academy Award-winning film director

To progress to the Eagle Scout rank, a Scout must fulfill leadership, service, and outdoor skills requirements.  A few ranks have their requirements that need to be met before working on the Eagle Rank.  These ranks include Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. 

Each rank has specific criteria to be met, including skills, service, leadership, and merit badges.  Merit badges signify mastery of skills and increase knowledge in that area. For example, an Eagle Scout must complete 21 merit badges, out of over 135 to choose from, of which 13 are required, and the remainder can be free choice ones. 

Becoming an Eagle Scout requires much effort and determination, says Schriver.  Generally, scouts plan on working on their Eagle early in their scouting career, as it is the final goal to achieve.  Most Scouts will earn their Eagle right before their 18th Birthday.  Aside from merit badges, working with the troop, and leadership, the Eagle Scout project is the big step.

 A Scout must determine a need and act on it; this involves getting permission from the benefactor initially.  Then the Scout must create a project proposal, with all their ideas written out, and then that proposal must be approved by the district eagle board and the scoutmaster.  Once achieved, an official project plan needs to be written with all the details of the project itself.  The goal of the project is for the Scout to be in charge and show leadership.  They oversee the entire project, make plans, gather volunteers, tools, fundraise, and carry out the idea.  Then the project is accomplished according to the plan. 

The Scout then completes a summary report of what was done, evaluates their project, and presents other information about what was accomplished.  Upon completing this documentation, the Scout then delivers it to the district Eagle board for final signatures.  It then gets sent to the Council for approval and finally back to the district who coordinates another Board of Review for the Scout.  This review board is much more detailed and could take up to an hour of interview-type questions and reflection of the project, Scouting, future goals, life, and anything else. 

Five boys from troop 466 earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Here is a bit about each of their projects:

Henry Otto: Henry built a meditation labyrinth at the Tolt Congregational United Church of Christ in Carnation for his project. He started the project in late 2019 but had to pause because of the covid pandemic. Luckily, it was finished in time for his 18th Birthday! It has a unique design and beautiful landscaping that the church planted after he completed the project. It is open for use by the church, the public, and will likely see much use during the summer.

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Erik Diegel: Erik set up landscaping at the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Activity Center’s (YAC) parking lot. He set up a variety of trees and bushes in the area to grow over time, flattened out the soil and layered mulch on top of it. The setting and materials provided for this project were managed by former Scoutmaster Doug McClelland, now the Vice-President of the YAC board, who oversaw the property and helped multiple scouts, including Erik, complete this requirement for their Eagle rank.

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Aidan Schriver:  Aidan’s eagle project built a turnpike trail for the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Activity Center (YAC) in North Bend. The trail created an easy, accessible path to the backside of the property. The back end of the property will be used for many outdoor activities and camping trips for youth groups. With the help of about 20 volunteers, youth and adults, the project took almost 100 hours to complete. Responsible for planning and executing the entire project to its completion, Aidan says, “ I found it very rewarding to see my vision of the project come together and was pleased that it will benefit other youth groups for many years to come.”

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Riley Bates: Riley’s eagle project consisted of planting 40 trees on the Snoqualmie Valley YAC property. He planted local species of plants and trees to restore the natural habitat after the new construction. Youth organizations will use the Snoqualmie Youth Activity Center for many years to come, and completing the landscaping was a big step in the facility receiving its occupancy. Riley commented, “My project took many months of planning and prep work and was completed by a group of more than 15 people. I hope that my project stands the test of time and makes a positive impact in the Valley.”

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Rory Bates-For Rory’s Eagle Project, he completed all of the landscaping around the parking lot and entrance of the Snoqualmie Valley YAC property. One of the requirements for receiving occupancy of the facility was to landscape the surrounding land, which his eagle project helped satisfy. His project included leveling, mulching, and planting over 200 different plants, which took one full day to complete with the help of 10 people. The types of plants are all native to the Pacific Northwest and help show the natural beauty of Western Washington. Rory says the goal of his project was to leave a lasting mark that helps benefit a local organization.

Now that they’ve finished this process, they are official Eagle Scouts. A final Court of Honor Ceremony will be held just to honor these Eagle Scouts, with their families, friends, special guests, and troop members. You can learn more about the process here and here. If interested in Scouting, please see this link https://seattlebsa.org/ .

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