The Clifford brothers of Valley Stream have been in scouts together for more than a decade. On Dec. 1, they earned scouting’s highest honor together.
Jack and Charlie Clifford were recognized at a Court of Honor ceremony at Blessed Sacrament Church for achieving the Eagle rank. They are Boy Scouts with Valley Stream Troop 369, which has turned out several Eagle scouts in the past few years.
When Jack was in first-grade, he started in the Cub Scouts with Pack 368. Charlie, a year younger, liked what his brother was doing and was allowed to join the scouts as a “Tiger in training.”
They both moved on to the Boy Scouts and both set becoming an Eagle Scout as a goal. There are several requirements that must be met to earn the rank, including the completion of a community service project. The Clifford brothers were among five scouts who contributed to the Valley Stream dog park, which opened in 2012.
Jack supervised the construction of an 8-foot by 8-foot shelter in the large dog area. Charlie provided several obstacles for the dogs, including a ramp. Both had to seek donations from local businesses and enlist the help of volunteers to bring their projects to fruition.
Scouts must also earn 21 merit badges to earn their Eagle rank. Jack met that requirement, and said his favorite badges to earn were for computers and fishing. Charlie picked up 26 badges, and said he enjoyed archery, tracking and rifle.
When Jack was in junior high school, he left the scouts. Realizing how much he missed it, he came back after a year but said it definitely set him back a little bit in becoming an Eagle Scout. “It did give me a little bit of a disadvantage because I had to work a lot harder in the end,” he said, adding that during his absence he missed one summer camp, where a majority of merit badges are earned.
Jack, a 2012 graduate of Central High School, is a sophomore at Wilkes University. He is a theater technology major, primarily working with lights and sounds. As part of his program, he works on four shows a year, which he said keeps him very busy in college.
“There are a lot of opportunities out there for this field,” he said. “You can do anything from TV to live entertainment.”
Charlie graduated from Central in June. There, he was a member of the video technology club and EnviroCentral, an environmental club. He now attends Nassau Community College and is studying graphic design.
Both have remained active in the scouts since graduating high school. Charlie, already a senior patrol leader, will soon become an assistant scoutmaster.
Jack is an assistant scoutmaster and still attends troop meetings when he is home. He said his most memorable moments from scouting are camping trips and outdoor activities with friends. Charlie said he enjoyed the camping, canoeing and skiing trips.
About 60 people, including friends, family and fellow scouts, attended their Court of Honor ceremony. The program was designed by their mother, Barbara, who took her favorite parts of other Eagle Scout ceremonies.
Charlie said that he was a little bit nervous, but enjoyed having many people come out to celebrate his accomplishment. He also enjoyed the lunch that followed.
For Jack, everyone standing up and clapping at the end of the ceremony was the highlight for him. He said it was an honor to be recognized for his hard work over the years. His advice for anyone wanting to become an Eagle Scout is simple: “enjoy yourself.”
The brothers say that because of the scouts, they have developed valuable leadership skills that they will use throughout their lives. Jack added that becoming an Eagle Scout, an honor earned by only 4 percent of boys who enter the scouts, looks good going forward. “It helps show other people who I am and what I am capable of,” he said. “If I set my mind on something I can and will get it done.”