Scout earns highest rank
Before Alex Tye could become an Eagle Scout, the highest ranking in Scouts of America, he had to complete one major project.
The project he chose on the grounds of Trillium Creek Primary School was "a way to give back to the school that has given me so much," Tye said.
Tye officially advanced to the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor on Sept. 22, surrounded by friends, family, and other members of Troop 396.
Despite reaching the highest of the seven Scout ranks, Tye shows no signs of slowing down.
When describing the badges that crowd his merit badge sash, he pointed out the spots where he planned to put the next patches.
Tye is now working toward the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement and planning a three-day backpacking trip and three-day whitewater rafting trip, but the project at Trillium Creek Primary School isn't old news.
Tye built a trail through the forest and removed invasive blackberries and ivy at the school last year.
"I'm hoping that other Scouts will add their trails and in a few years we'll have an entire network of trails spanning across this entire forest," Tye said. "And one of my other goals is to try to remove all the blackberry on this property," he added, noting the patches of blackberry creeping closer to the trail.
Tye worked closely with fellow Scouts, Trillium staff, and educators with CREST, the West Linn-Wilsonville School District's environmental education center, to develop and execute his project.
To construct the path, Tye had to first stake out the path. He would come to the forest after school with a few stakes and flagging tape to mark where the path would go. Tye then went to Trillium Creek Principal Jim Mangan (who left for a position in Hood River at the end of the last school year) and leaders from Scouts of America for approval.
Next, Tye went to Bob Carlson, then-executive director of CREST, for native plants to replace the invasive blackberry that Tye and volunteers would pull from the ground.
On the morning when the majority of trail building was scheduled to take place, heavy rains slowed progress. "At the very beginning I got disappointed because not many Scouts came, but then it kept snowballing and more Scouts came," Tye said.
"At the beginning it was slow going," Tye said, but after a few hours "the sun started to shine and more people started to come."
All in all, 42 volunteers contributed a total 209 hours on the project.
At the Eagle ceremony, David Kleinke spoke about Tye's involvement with SOLVE habitat restoration projects at Mary S Young Park. Kleinke, who was awarded West Linn's annual city service award earlier this year, met Tye when he started attending the SOLVE events. "In the short time that I've known Alex I've been very impressed," Kleinke wrote in letter supporting Tye's rank advancement. Kleinke described Tye as dependable, passionate, mature, enthusiastic and hardworking. "When others are getting tired and distracted Alex is still focused on getting the job done."
Kleinke described a time that a group of volunteers inadvertently disrupted a hornet's nest. A young volunteer received a number of stings, as did Tye, who immediately ran to aid the volunteer, Kleinke explained. "Instead of running in another direction, he helped," Kleinke said.
Involvement with Scouts is a family affair for Tye. Tye's father is also an Eagle Scout and both his mother and father led Scout activities throughout Tye's childhood. Now, Tye is hoping his younger brother will someday contribute to the Trillium project and become an Eagle Scout.
"It is typical for Scouts to leave their Troops after accomplishing their Eagle but Alex does have a fierce loyalty to his brother and his peers," explained Suzanne Tye, Alex's mother.
"I was one of the quickest ones in my den to rank up, and I enjoyed all the help that I received when I was doing so," Alex Tye said. "So I decided to give back and become the person who would help other scouts rank up — and it's especially nice when your brother is one of those people," he added.
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