Leaving a mark on West Linn
After countless hours performing community service and learning skills including first aid, personal fitness and finance, six West Linn High School graduates who joined scouts in first grade together as Tiger Cub Pack 504 recently earned their Eagle Scout awards.
Though the six rising college sophomores in Boy Scout Troop 149 — Evan McKinley, Andrew Callaghan, Jonathan Udell, Andrew Hatch, Will Mushlitz and Andrew Roethe — completed their Eagle Scout Service projects prior to their 18th birthday, when they age out of Boy Scouts, the ceremony was held Friday, July 19, for logistical reasons.
"To me, it feels really good because my dad was an Eagle Scout and my uncle was an Eagle Scout, so I was intent to obtain it, to follow their footsteps," said Andrew Callaghan. "Coming out of it in the long haul, it feels like a chapter has closed but it feels nice to look back and feel like I achieved this."
Scoutmaster Eric Waller said it's rare for Boy Scouts to make it all the way to an Eagle Scout ranking.
"In our troop we have a high percentage of boys that get to Eagle, however, nationally only four out of 100 boys that join Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle," Waller said.
To earn their Eagle, the highest ranking in Boy Scouts, members must fulfill requirements in leadership, service and outdoor skills. Boy Scouts need to earn at least 21 merit badges during their Scouting career, in areas such as cooking, camping and communication. Another important part of earning an Eagle ranking is completing a service project to learn and develop leadership and project management skills.
"Very proud of these six boys that came up through Cub Scouts together and stuck together for the last 10-plus years and all achieved their Eagle together," Waller said.
For their service projects, Hatch built an informational kiosk in Sahellie Illahee Park; Mushlitz built an informational kiosk near the Willamette River and boat ramp; McKinley built and installed six picnic tables in Willamette Park; Udell constructed four risers for the West Linn High School band program so instruments in the back can be seen and heard more clearly; Roethe created a memorial and historical site on the original Trolley Trail — which is now a walk and bike path in Milwaukie — to honor John Gottlieb Roethe, one of his ancestors and the original homesteaders of the area, and Callaghan built practice mounds for pitchers and warm ups — small gravel areas at Rosemont Ridge Middle School — for the West Linn Baseball Association.
"I played baseball when I was way younger and my neighbors all play baseball," Callaghan said. "I was talking to them and they said the field needed updating. I think it makes the field more safe and more enjoyable."
Mushlitz said he built the information kiosk because it was something the City wanted implemented and he wanted to make an impact close to where he lives.
"I kind of killed two birds with one stone there," he said, adding that the largest takeaway from working his way up to an Eagle ranking was the importance of working hard. "There's a lot of things you don't necessarily want to do. You have to get so many merit badges, so many hours of community service; there's a lot of things that go into getting your Eagle," Mushlitz said. "It takes determination and focus to get it all done."
"It was definitely a good feeling to have completed everything because ... that was the goal for everybody," Udell added. "Everybody looked up to older Scouts who were getting Eagle so it felt good to have made it through because a lot of people get bored and drop out. I was close to doing that myself but it felt good to persevere through it."
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