Three members of Valley Stream BSA Troop 116 officially became Eagle Scouts on Saturday.
Owen Bogle, Ian Burke and Brandon Yu gathered along with family, mentors and their fellow scouts to at the Village Green bandshell around noon, to celebrate their reaching the highest rank one can achieve in scouting, and one that only around 5 percent of all BSA scouts achieve.
All three described their journeys, and the challenges they had to overcome.
Bogle, a Queens resident, was forced to contend with the dissolution of his previous troop, 339, in 2015. He said scouting gave him the focus and responsibilities to overcome his ADHD, and despite wanting to quit on a number of occasions, encouragement from those around him, including his father, helped him persevere.
Burke, said he always knew he would make Eagle one day, but described the challenge of being thrust into a leadership role in the troop at a relatively young age. He expressed fondness for his troop, and in particular, all of its haphazard imperfections.
“My great-grandfather was an Eagle scout, my grandfather was a scoutmaster and my dad is an Eagle Scout,” he explained. “The biggest drive for me was keeping the family tradition and making them proud.”
For Yu, the coronavirus pandemic had threatened to end his Eagle Scout project, which involved building a set of picnic tables for Beacon House, a veterans non-profit. Without the ability to raise funds through the traditional modes such as bake sales and fundraising drives, he had to adapt and solicit donations from a network of friends and family. He likened his relationship with Troop 116 to a hat he often wore in the shape of a moose. It was symbolic, he said, of the comfort and familiarity his fellow scouts gave him.
“That moose hat has been with me all these years just like the troop has been with me all of these years,” he said.