Troop 140 has record 11 Eagle Scouts
In 2019, just over 60,000 Scouts earned the rank of Eagle. When compared to the number of troops in the United States, around 1 Scout per troop earns the rank each year. Nevertheless, Troop 140 in Buffalo Grove defies these numbers.
This Sunday, 11 Scouts from Troop 140 will receive their Eagle Scout Rank in a ceremony to be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church where the Troop meets each week. Of the 11 Scouts, ten of the boys are from the same elementary school district: Kildeer Countryside District 96, and seven have been in school together since 1st grade. It has been a fun and memorable journey for this group of boys who have become close friends over the years.
The 11 Scouts include: Jonathan Abraham, Carson Gallagher, Kellen McGowan, Matthew McGowan, Michael Meshboch, Zachary Pipin, Josh Tasher, Liam Thomson, Alastair Tutty, Eric Vondrak, and Daniel Wilson. Their Eagle Scout projects were completed in the past year and included: constructing a wooden boardwalk, winterizing plant beds, painting a world map mural on a school blacktop, landscape trim, sanding and repainting a storage shed, creating concrete tubs for native aquatic plants, building plant propagation beds, deep cleaning and disinfecting exercise equipment, building a wooden retaining wall, creating new trail signs, collecting and spreading seeds, and building new benches.
For Kellen, his project was a test of patience and persistence. As a result of supply chain disruptions, there was a severe shortage in paint. This meant lots of trips to Lowes, Home Depot and Sherwin Williams to find the paint he needed. The ending result was a bright and colorful art piece to liven up the playground area and create a space where students can learn about geography and other students' backgrounds.
The highlights of the group's adventures come from a variety of places across the country. From kayaking in the open ocean through the San Juan Islands in Washington State, spelunking Maquoketa Caves in Iowa, all the way canoeing the boundary waters of Minnesota.
For Thompson, one of his favorite highlights was close to home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Thompson said that during the 20 mile hike around the lake, he and the others encountered some strange houses, a dead fish, as well as plenty of inside jokes that lived on for years.
The ultimate test of the group's outdoor skills arrived during a 10 day backpacking trek in Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico. The boys hiked around 10 miles per day with 50-70 pound backpacks up steep, rocky slopes, through rivers and across massive valleys of flowers and cattle. They also cooked their own freeze dried meals (sometimes in the rain) while also participating in activities like mountain biking, musket shooting, and axe throwing.
"Overall, Philmont was a bonding experience," Tutty, a junior at Stevenson High School, said. "It was certainly difficult having to hike through mud in pouring rain, or climb up a slope that felt like 90 degrees, but we did it all together as a team. For myself however, I learned how to live with just a few pairs of underwear."
In order to acquire these skills, the boys had to learn from their peers and other adults during their regular Monday night meetings. Now, after 7 years, it is they who are the teachers, instructing how to set up tents, tie knots and perform first aid. Over this transition from apprentice to master, the Scouts learned how to become not only better leaders and listeners, but also better people.
"As a younger Scout, I was probably a bit annoying and distracting to the older Scouts," Kellen said. "Now I really know how they feel when I have to teach Scouts who were once my age. But the lessons that those older Scouts taught me, as well as their patience and dedication, has stuck with me to this day."