Crestwood High School 10th grader Robert Bueg is just weeks away from obtaining his Eagle Scout rank with Boy Scout Troop 300 in Hobbie, currently waiting on the council’s decision after completing his community service project.
Robert started scouting at the Cub Scout level when he was in first grade, building bird houses and competing in Pinewood Derby Races. As he progressed through the ranks of Webelo, Boy Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life Scout, the projects and badges became more involved from first aid and citizenship to communication and personal fitness to wilderness survival and emergency preparedness. There are twenty-two merit badges required for the Eagle rank, some specific to that rank, and all must be completed before beginning the community project phase of the application.
To complete the rank of Eagle, a candidate like Robert has to identify a need in the community and complete a project that somehow alleviates that need or gives back to the community in some way. Robert, who has also played soccer with Mountaintop Youth Soccer Association for the last six years, chose to build fourteen 8ft long team benches for the new complex located on Route 437.
“Their fields are really well maintained and they have a new concession stand there.” explained Robert. “The only thing missing was benches.”
So, with that idea in mind, Robert approached the board and asked to make complex complete. According to Troop 300 leader, Bob Commodore, the folks at MYSA were “ecstatic”. “I thought it was a great idea,” said Commodore. “He saw the need and went for it.”
Commodore has known Robert since he was a Cub Scout and says that, although obtaining the rank of Eagle is not easy, Robert worked very diligently at obtaining the necessary qualifications.
“He is very determined and level headed. He worked hard,” remarked Commodore.
Robert’s first step was to get approval from the Boy Scout Council for the project. Then he had to estimate the kind of time and materiel it would take to complete. Once his project was approved, he was free to approach MYSA with his proposal and begin fundraising and construction on his project. Commodore explained that in many cases, the hardest part for the candidates is not in obtaining the money and the help, but in instructing and directing the adult volunteers.
“They’ve been taught their entire lives to defer to adults,” explained Commodore. “Now they have to take charge and relay to them what needs to be done. It is a big step.”
The bench project took approximately five months from the time Robert took his idea to the MYSA board for approval to the time they delivered the benches in early August. Robert says that he has gotten very positive feedback
“On the first game of our season, players from my own team were complementing me on the benches and I got to tell them that I was the one that did them. People not only use them but they’re happy with how nice they are. It’s really cool.”
Robert has turned in his post project information, which includes a comparison of his earlier hour and supply estimates to the actual numbers, as well as descriptions of the process, and is currently waiting for council approval. Once he receives approval for his project, he will interview with members of the Boy Scout Council, where he will answer questions about his project and scouting experience. If he passes the interview process, he will be awarded the rank of Eagle –and then be required to plan his own celebration.
Commodore relates that Troop 300 is five years old and has four conferred Eagle Scouts with four others currently working on their service projects. He explains that with the rank of Eagle comes a certain community respect.
“An Eagle rank looks great on a resume and is worth an E-3 ranking in the military,” says Commodore. “People just expect you to be able to do more, be more helpful, know more.”
While the Eagle rank is the highest in boy scouting, Robert can elect to continue in the troop until he is 18, earning Eagle Palms, attending meetings and joining outings. Robert says he plans to “stick around” and have some fun while he is still able.
Robert would like to thank all those who donated to his project, including Mountain Top Youth Soccer Association, A & R Building Supply, Dotzel Trucking, Rays Way Farm, Steinbrenner Auto, American Legion Post 781, Dorrance Auto Center, JL Market Deli & Diner, family, friends and neighbors.
“Scouting is just a really great thing for younger kids to get into and a good opportunity to learn a lot of things,” said Robert “ I have benefited so much from it and learned so much and just had fun doing it -I would definitely recommend it to someone.”