New Eagle Scout Mathew McCulloch is taking a shot at bettering the community, constructing steel target platforms at the Canby Rod and Gun Club (CRGC) for his qualifying project. A recent graduate of Canby High School, McCulloch was awarded Eagle Scout status following his work within Wilsonville Troop 194 and the CRGC.
"We have a great partnership with CRGC, and they have made many Scouts' experiences in scouting better," McCulloch says. "I have grown up around firearms ever since I was young; hunting and shooting with my grandfather, who taught most of what I know about firearms. My family loves those outdoor activities and I believed that this project was the best way to serve the community while sticking to my roots."
Scout members of Troop 194 assisted McCulloch with the project, carrying buckets of concrete and demonstrating large levels of respect for the CRGC and what it has done for many Scouts. The group poured the new platforms to be used by the GRGC for events, creating safe spaces for shooting demonstrations. For McCulloch, his work around firearms has influenced his views on early firearm safety education.
"I had much exposure with firearms as a Scout. Because of my background I was always one of the guys teaching about firearms more than learning," McCulloch says. "However, I have seen Scouts gain a wealth of knowledge about firearms from scouting. What having a firearm means, how to treat a firearm, and even some history on different types of firearms. Just this basic instruction can mean the world to a young man learning about firearms."
Troop 194 Assistant Scoutmaster David Martin stresses the importance of early safety instruction.
"Scouts gain knowledge of safe handling of these tools early on through carefully crafted programs at the (Boy Scout) council level," Martin says. "A majority of the Scouts come to us come from houses without firearms, so it is vital to instill respect for all of these tools."
Above all, Martin emphasizes the importance of instilling in younger Scouts the knowledge that firearms are tools to be used in rare situations, not toys to be played with.
"It is my opinion that this type of training plus instilling that knives, bows, firearms are tools, not toys helps our Scouts recognize dangerous situations outside of Scouts and safely and efficiently resolve those situations," Martin says.
McCulloch is thankful for the opportunity to bring awareness to the scouting lifestyle. He plans to continue his life of service as an officer in the United States' Air Force this fall.
"Having the knowledge and ability to teach other people about the scouting way of life is truly a privilege and honor," McCulloch says. "We believe that this knowledge is what turns boys into men and what turns strong men into stronger men."