Almost three years of planning and implementation culminated on Feb. 12 as Limestone teen Daniel Haley was ceremoniously presented his Eagle Scout Award, the highest honor that the Boy Scouts of America can bestow upon a Scout.
Haley earned his Eagle Scout award by working at the United Parish Church in Fort Fairfield, providing much needed repairs and refurbishment to the church’s basement. His fellow Scouts of Troop 193 were there to lend a hand under Haley’s leadership.
“I spent 52 hours planning and completing my project, and there was a total of 251 hours of work involved,” Haley said. “It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.”
Not only has the United Parish Church benefited from the new Eagle Scout’s labors, but Haley’s parents can see how becoming an Eagle Scout has benefited their son.
“Daniel’s becoming an Eagle Scout tells us that he has become a responsible citizen. He has great loyalty for his community, friends and family,” said his mother Raeleen Haley. “It also says that Daniel has the determination to reach his goals. Almost all the boys say that they want to make it to Eagle, but Daniel said it and accomplished it.”
The level of perseverance and dedication required to attain the Eagle Scout Award are reflected in the fact that less than 3 percent of Scouts nationwide become Eagle Scouts.
“It’s a big accomplishment and because so much effort needs to go into achieving that big accomplishment, few scouts actually do it,” said Tony Enerva, district commissioner for the North Star (Aroostook County) District Committee of the Katahdin Area Council. “Being an Eagle Scout is a lot of work, but they earn it.”
But being an Eagle Scout is more than just getting to wear the coveted Eagle Pin, Eagle Neckerchief, Eagle Bolo and Eagle Badge. Enerva, a professor at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, said the award follows the recipient through life, both in academia and employment. He’s sat on admissions committees and reviews that look at many different criteria for college applicants, such as SAT and ACT scores as well as a student’s GPA.
“But one outstanding criteria that everyone comments on is an Eagle Scout award or the Girl Scout equivalent, the Gold Award,” Enerva said. “Eagle Scouts are seen as honest and trustworthy individuals who follow the oath of Scouting. If two applicants are otherwise equal, the Eagle Scout gets [preference].”
The new Eagle Scout has been with the Boy Scout program since 2001 and first realized he wanted to become an Eagle Scout when he was just a Tiger Scout.
“I am very proud that when Daniel commits to something, he always fulfills the obligation even when other opportunities come up or peers give him a hard time about it,” Raeleen said. “I’m also proud that Daniel understands the benefits of volunteering and is ready and eager to volunteer when he is needed.”
Daniel may have achieved Scouting’s highest honor, but he still has a lot to offer the organization and is excited to keep going forward with his new accessories and responsibilities. As an Eagle Scout, he plans on staying active with his troop and continuing to earn merit badges as well as Eagle Palms.
“I hope to set a good example for the younger scouts and help them advance in rank,” Daniel said.
To become an Eagle Scout, Daniel had to earn a minimum of 21 Merit Badges (12 of which are specifically required to achieve the award), plan an Eagle Project, write a descriptive essay about the work necessary to complete the project and then pass the Eagle Board.
And even though his first attempt at creating an Eagle Scout Project was rejected by the board, Daniel was still able to become an Eagle Scout at the age of 15.
According to Enerva, most scouts are 17 or 18 years old when they become Eagle Scouts.
“Danny’s goal was to get his Eagle Scout at an early age, and he’s done a good job getting there,” said Limestone Troop Leader Larry Cote.
Daniel’s accomplishment marks the third year in a row that his Limestone Boy Scout Troop has produced Eagle Scouts. Contributing to the Eagle Scout streak are Nicholas Whitehead, who achieved his Eagle Scout in 2010, and Daniel Cote, who was awarded his Eagle Scout in 2009.
The North Star District, which encompasses Aroostook County, does have a history of leading the Katahdin Council in the number of Eagle Scouts that emerge through the program, according to Enerva.
“We’re the number one producer of Eagle Medals,” he said. “We do very well up here.”
Photo contributed by Boy Scout Troop 193
With the help and guidance of his troop leaders, Scoutmaster Larry Cote (left) and Assistant Scoutmaster Elaine Cote, Daniel Haley of Limestone has attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor among Boy Scouts of America.
BY NATALIE BAZINET
CARIBOU AROOSTOOK REPUBLICAN & NEWS