CARIBOU, Maine — In its 50 years of existence, Caribou’s Boy Scout Troop 184 has had 56 Scouts make it to the distinguished rank of Eagle Scout. It was 2010 when the troop’s last Eagle Scout was named. But that changed on Sept. 8 when an Eagle Court of Honor was held for three young men from the troop — Daniel Powers, Keith Draper and Alexander Murchison — to congratulate them on their hard work and officially give them the Eagle Scout title.
A large group consisting of Boy Scouts past and present, leaders, family, friends and representatives from several organizations gathered at Troop 184’s Scout Hall in Caribou to celebrate with a hearty meal and ceremony providing the boys with their Eagle pins and neckerchiefs, and numerous plaques and certificates commemorating their accomplishments.
“Becoming an Eagle Scout takes a lot of dedication and determination,” master of ceremonies Brian Doody said in his opening remarks. “And earning the title Eagle Scout is an honor you can carry with you throughout the rest of your life.”
A total of 21 badges must be earned in order to become an Eagle Scout. There are 10 that are mandatory, including first aid, citizenship and camping badges, and the remainder are at the Scout’s discretion. Powers and Murchison had each earned close to 40 badges and Draper had earned 46.
“Overachiever!” Powers teased his friend.
Each of the Eagles also had to complete a project to earn his rank. Powers and Murchison both worked with the Fish & Wildlife Refuge in Limestone, with Powers devoting 184 hours to building a bridge on one of the trails to support bikers and snowmobiles, and Murchison devoting 105 hours building a pergola by the main office to give hikers a rest stop. For his project, Draper devoted 110 hours to the Caribou Historical Society, building a nature trail and picnic area.
Seventeen-year-old Alex Murchison, the son of Ken and Jan Murchison of Caribou, has been in the Scouts for approximately 10 years. As a child, he never intended to become a Boy Scout, instead enjoying indoor activities such as Legos.
“My father always said to me, ‘Go outside, go outside,’ but my Legos were inside.” Murchison said. “But Dad started taking me hunting and fishing and I finally joined the Boy Scouts and really liked it.”
Murchison knew once he joined the Scouts that he wanted to go all the way to Eagle. He found the citizenship badges a bit challenging, but struggled mostly with all the paperwork that was required.
“I would see the paperwork and think, ‘OK, this might take a while,’” Murchison commented.
A senior at Caribou High School, Murchison plans to become a mechanical engineer and is looking to attend a college such as the University of Maine in Orono.
Keith Draper, 16, is the son of Mark and Claudette Draper. He became a Scout when he was in first grade. Like Murchison, Draper’s father also got him interested in Scouting. He found earning his cycling badge to be the most challenging.
“I rode in Ride Aroostook twice,” Draper said. “That was really hard. You have to do a lot for that badge.”
A senior at CHS, Draper hopes to attend the University of Maine at either Presque Isle or Fort Kent after graduation.
The son of John and Tracy Powers of Caribou, 17-year-old Daniel Powers has been a Scout for approximately 6½ years. He credits his Aunt Mary with getting him involved in the organization.
“She called and asked if I wanted to go to Boy Scouts with my cousins,” Powers remembered. “At first I thought no, but once I started going, I loved it. “
Powers found his environmental science badge to be the most challenging to earn.
“It took a couple of months to earn,” Powers said. “It has a lot of requirements.”
The main thing Powers said he will take away from his Scouting experience is the leadership skills he acquired.
Also a senior at CHS, Powers plans to attend either Maine Maritime Academy or the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He aspires to be in the Coast Guard and to become a game warden to fulfill his love of the outdoors.
Murchison, Draper and Powers all plan to remain active in the Scouts.
“If I am stationed on a base, I would like to start a troop,” Powers said.
Troop 184 started in 1937, sponsored by the League of the Sacred Heart of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church with scoutmaster Clement McDonald. The first Troop 184 Eagle Scout was Alberic Blanchette, who earned the honor in 1938. As a result of World War II, however, the troop disbanded sometime in the early to mid-1940s.
The late Rogis Keaton then restarted the troop in 1963, and his son, Vaughn, the current Troop 184 scoutmaster, was one of the first Eagle Scouts of the re-formed troop.
“I am definitely proud of these boys,” Vaughn Keaton said. “They are numbers 54, 55 and 56 to earn the Eagle. It’s a great accomplishment for them and for the troop.”
The Caribou troop meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each Monday evening at Scout Hall on 71 Aldrich Drive. For more information, contact Keaton at 492-3770.
Correction: An earlier version of this story requires clarification. Troop 184 actually began in 1937, sponsored by the League of the Sacred Heart of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church with scoutmaster Clement McDonald. As a result of World War II, however, the troop disbanded sometime in the early to mid-1940s. Rogis Keaton then restarted the troop in 1963, and his son, Vaughn, the current Troop 184 scoutmaster, was one of the first Eagle Scouts of the re-formed troop. The first Troop 184 Eagle Scout was Alberic Blanchette, who earned the honor in 1938.