Kenova’s newest Eagle Scout earns highest rank
KENOVA — Greater than two million youth participate in Boy Scouts of America on a yearly basis, but few ever soar to the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement in the Boy Scout program. Nate Carter will soon join the elite group after completing his Eagle Scout Board of Review in September.
A board of review is a chance for adults to talk with the Scout about what he’s done, what he’s learned, how it has helped him in his advancement. It’s an essential part of the Boy Scouting experience, and it’s required for every rank from Tenderfoot, the earliest rank in scouting to the final rank of Eagle Scout.
“Only one percent of boys join scouts, and only one percent of that one percent gets to Eagle,” Troop 82 Scoutmaster Jefferson Davis said. “It’s a monumental achievement for him.”
Prior to becoming an Eagle Scout, one must complete an approved community service project which presents opportunity for leadership, planning, and development, and has a definite impact on a community or organization according to the BSA Guidelines and Restrictions.
Carter, along with the help of 19 others painted 198 wooden posts at Virginia Point in Kenova for his Eagle Scout Project in an attempt to improve the appearance of the grounds in a highly trafficked public area. Though it might sound like a simple project when spoken of, there were complications along the way.
In fact, Virginia Point wasn’t originally included in Carter’s plans.
“It was kind of demoralizing for him. It was his third or fourth option as a project,” Davis said. “The first one there was too many hoops to jump through, but he talked with some city officials and after some more thinking kind of landed on this idea. I think the end result was absolutely beautiful.”
The Virginia Point project amassed over 100 community service hours between the volunteers and was done over the course of three days. The project put Carter’s leadership and communication skills to the test in the days before the project all the way through completion.
Before joining Troop 82, Carter was reserved and often inclusive. Scouting would change that. Carter said he would highly recommend scouting to any parent who wants their kid to become an extrovert, specifically if their child was as introverted as he once was.
“I kept to myself a lot. I was really shy around people but could be funny behind closed doors. It took me a long time to come out of my shell,” Carter said. “During project week, that wasn’t me at all, or wouldn’t have been me before scouting. The 4 years leading up to that really prepared me for that task.”
Carter credits much of his growth to Troop 82 Scoutmaster Jefferson Davis, who helped him to adjust in scouting by guiding him over the course of the past few years, and allowing him to become comfortable with an increased role in the troop.
“We wanted to push him out of his comfort zone, and over the years I think we did,” Davis said. “You never want to push too hard with kids because it can sometimes hurt them, but with Nate we knew we could. Once he got out of that comfort zone and started opening up it was a complete change for him.”
The end result is a much more matured Scout by way of his experiences and encounters over the past for years. It’s something Carter not only noticed himself, but those around him took notice of the transformation too.
“He was a basket case when he came in, like a lot of boys that age are. He didn’t have much quiet and didn’t really have much direction, but as soon as he opened up he was volunteering for different things left and right and accepting his role as a leader in the troop. He grew up and became a man in front of my eyes.”
“It makes me tear up. I’m extremely proud of him and the work ethic he had to get it done is amazing. It was something that he had his eyes on when he joined scouts,” Carter’s mother Kerry said of her son. “He wanted to finish at the top. The last few years he really focused on the honor of the scout to live up to the scouts honor, and that made a huge difference for him.”
Carter will have to await the results of his Board of Review - which can take anywhere from four to six weeks to be approved, but said he feels both joy and relief knowing the progress he made and what he accomplished through his Eagle Scout project.
He will be publicly recognized at the Kenova City Council meeting on September 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Municipal building.