Joshua Samuel Close Erskine of Sisters was awarded the Boy Scouts of America's Eagle Scout Badge at Cascades Academy in Bend last week.
Several of Joshua's uncles - all holding that special rank of Eagle Scout - were there to cheer him on, to take part in what they believe was one of the most rewarding things they accomplished in their younger years.
One of Joshua's uncles, David Close, a retired Episcopalian minster living on Whidbey Island on the Puget Sound, feels that gaining the rank of Eagle Scout provides a young man with three very special elements in his life:
1. The opportunity to achieve huge personal goals. The, "I can do anything" attitude, especially true when we look at the list of projects and accomplishments a scout must complete before he can attain his Eagle Scout status.
2. He cannot do it alone. To reach that pinnacle, a scout must not only be dedicated, but have the cooperation and help from his parents, family, and troop to which he belongs.
3. Big problems that come up in a scout's life are best solved by scouting principles that teach moral codes that help keep our society running toward higher ground.
All these principals were evident all through the Eagle Award Ceremony celebrating Joshua's achievements.
Joshua began his journey to Eagle Scout when he went from Cub Scouts into Troop 21 in Bend, early in 2009. He was Tenderfoot by August of 2009, advanced to Second Class in November of that same year, and a year later achieved Fist Class Scout. Two years later he made Star, and by February of 2014 he qualified for his Eagle Scout work.
From October 2011 to October 2012 he was Quartermaster of his troop, advanced to Assistant Senior Patrol Leader in April, 2013, and as of today he's Junior Assistant Scout Master. All of this demonstrates that Joshua is not a young man who sits on his hands waiting for fortune to come to his door - he's a doer.
To reach Eagle, Joshua earned a total of 36 merit badges, which include those necessary for him to reach Eagle: Family Life, Citizen in Community, Citizen in Nation, Citizen of the World, Signaling, Swimming, Communications, Environmental Science, First Aid, Lifesaving, Camping, Carpentry, and Tracking.
The BSA moral awards that his Uncle David referred to above include: Arrow of Light, God and Family, God and Me, God in Country, and Leave No Trace Training.
For his Eagle Scout work project Joshua took on a task that required the help and guidance of around 40 volunteers that came from Troop 21 and family and friends. They all hoped to make things run smoother for the Nativity Lutheran greenhouse and orchard in Bend.
He and his team built two big potting tables and three vermicomposters (worm composters) for the greenhouse, and he presented the facility with a check for $1,201 to help support the operation. All this effort increased the production of the garden operation from 100 pounds of produce to a whopping 208 pounds in 2013.
In his closing statement at the Eagle Award ceremony, Joshua thanked everyone for helping him to "celebrate one of the greatest accomplishments of my life - so far. You guys really are brothers to me, and I really appreciate that. Some of these seats (he said, waving at the large audience) may be reserved for my family members, but I just want everyone here to know you guys are all my family; you are the people who bring out the best in me, and you just keep bringing it out until it shined as bright as it could, and that's why we're all here today. Thank you."
Joshua's grandfather, Donald Close, went out among the stars in 2006, but wherever he may be, we can be sure he's smiling at his grandson.