The Distinction of Eagles

By Sandra Zunino

After postponing his ceremony, Daniel Whiting of Boy Scout Troop #148 finally received the honorable Eagle Scout Award last Sunday.

Daniel was eligible for the award last spring, having completed all the Eagle Scout prerequisites, but requested the celebration be delayed until his older brother, Captain Michael Whiting of the U.S. Air Force, was able to attend.

Currently stationed in California, Michael’s position does not allow him to take much time off for visits to the East Coast, explained Daniel’s mother, Karen. Daniel also wanted other family members present, but said scheduling for the event was hinged on Michael’s availability.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program. Requirements for the distinction include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout spirit, service, and leadership. Each badge represents an area of expertise such as emergency preparedness, first aid and camping. While ten of the badges are in required fields, 11 are electives, such as veterinary science or environmental science chosen by the scout.

Additionally, the scout must complete an extensive service project that he must plan, organize, lead and manage before reaching the age of 18. Only about 2 percent of the Boy Scouting membership achieves the Eagle Scout award. Once earned, the title of Eagle Scout is held for life.

Daniel completed the renovation of the hunter’s check-in cabin at the Wye Island N.R.M.A. for his Eagle project. In addition to helping other scouts earn Eagle awards, Daniel worked with a church group on a building renovation, which inspired him to tackle this kind of project, according to Karen.

From start to finish, the endeavor took about two years to execute. First, Daniel met with Ranger Davis at Wye Island to research the project. He then had to determine the amount of money the project would require. Finally, he had to raise funds and solicit donations for materials. The Boy Scout organization must approve all Eagle projects to ensure they meet the criteria.

Eagle service projects must make a significant contribution to the community and be large enough to demonstrate significant leadership. “Scouts cannot do the project entirely on their own,” says Karen. “They must have people to lead.”

At the ceremony, Daniel expressed thanks to scoutmasters Andy Wood and Ron Carter, his parents and project sponsors, especially Thompson Creek Windows, who donated windows during a critical phase of the project.

Other sponsors of Daniel’s project included Janet Gonski, Don Howard Painting, Shore Lumber & Millwork Inn, Paula Muelhauser of Ramshead Restaurant and 84 Lumber.

Daniel started the Scouting program in Florida and continued when his family moved to the Eastern Shore. Born in a scouting family, Daniel is the third son to achieve the Eagle Scout title. Both Daniel’s older brothers as well as his father, James Whiting Sr., are Eagle scouts. James Whiting Sr. is also an assistant Scoutmaster and served as an Eagle Scout Troop Leader. Daniel’s mother was a Girl Scout troop leader and his two sisters have achieved the Golden Award, which is the highest rank for Girl Scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations.