This year's Eagle Scout Class in Missouri consists of 1,257 scouts. Of those, 265 were at the state Capitol on Monday to be recognized for achieving the highest honor in scouting.
Speaking in the Missouri House Chambers, Great Rivers Council Board President Richard Mendenhall told the Eagle Scouts this class has combined for more than 26,300 merit badges. They also have given more than 220,000 hours of community service through their Eagle Scout projects.
Each Eagle Scout has to design a service project from start to finish and organize others to do it. It has to be something others can share and participate in or for which there's a real need in the community, particularly for nonprofit groups. The projects go through an Eagle Board of Revenue before the scout can do them.
"Someday, you'll recognize how important that really was," Mendenhall said. "It's a big deal."
These scouts also completed more than 25,000 nights of camping, Mendenhall said.
"There are a lot of people your age who have not been to the outdoors," Mendenhall said. "They only see it from their street view from where they live. They don't understand the nature we have in this state."
Mendenhall noted this group follows in the steps of some famous people from Missouri who were also Eagle Scouts — including Sam Walton, Ike Skelton and Ewing Kauffman. Being an Eagle Scout helped these men develop their leadership skills, and members of this Eagle class could go on to do great things themselves, he said.
"Only 6 percent of all eligible scouts obtain this designation," Mendenhall added.
"I tell young people all the time that anything is possible if you have the will to try and the faith to believe you can. If it is to be, it is up to us," Gov. Mike Parson said in his address to the Eagle Scouts.
Parson told the scouts they have taken a leadership role thanks to the work they've done to attain this rank and others will look at them to lead when they go out in the real world.
"Very few people in this old world will truly be leaders," Parson said. "The secret to leadership is no secret. It's about making everyone around you better. That's what you should focus on. It's about being a public servant, and that means you're willing to do for others that you'll never see or never know the outcome of what you do for them."
Quinton Frohman, 14, of Jefferson City, serves in Boy Scout Troop 11, which meets at the First Baptist Church. He's been in scouting since fifth grade and is following in the steps of his brother, Hobert, and father, David, who also achieved the rank of Eagle. His project was to add shelves to the band room at Lewis and Clark Middle School because they were running out of storage for instruments.
"I did over 150 hours of service for this project," Frohman said. "I also had to organize, not only putting the shelves in, but making them as well. You have to head up work parties and be in charge.
"I think one of the most valuable things I learned from not only the Eagle Scout project, but from all the experiences I've had in scouting, is that not everyone is the same, and it takes different styles of leading to lead a group," he said. "You can't have one go at it and be good the first time. It takes multiple tries."