Earning Eagle Together: The journey of 5 young men working to achieve prestigious status

Image Courtesy: Michael Elmore

What do Neil Armstrong, Steven Spielberg, and Mike Rowe all have in common?

They’re all Eagle Scouts.

And now, five Kirksville young men are earning that prestigious title too: Mason Elmore, Ian Polovich, John Vincent, Jacob Capps, and Andrew Carriker.

They all started together in first grade as Tiger Cubs, and now in eleventh grade, they’re accomplishing something only five percent of all Boy Scouts do.

“It’s pretty much like my brothers, a whole other set of best friends that I have,” said Vincent.

Since 1910, Boy Scouts have been teaching boys how to become men.

With each badge earned on their sashes, a new skill under their belt.

“All these badges are merit badges that I earned, a few of them are, this one’s chemistry and this one’s chess,” said Elmore. “This is the World Conservation Badge, and you had to do so many different merit badges to get that.”

“You learn all kinds of stuff really, anything from first aides to personal finance, a lot of things that you can use throughout your life that will make you a better person,” Polovich said.

The requirements to become an Eagle Scout are even more stringent.

It’s based in part on badges earned and community work done.

“Meetings once a week, we go to different camps throughout the year, and of course on your own you’ve got to do all the merit badges and different requirements like that,” Polovich said.

55,186 young men across the country became Eagle Scouts in 2016.

Those scouts spent a combined 9,156,368 hours helping to make their communities better.

Here in the area, the five young men helped with repairs to local churches, animal shelters, and the Veteran’s Cemetery in Jacksonville.

Becoming Eagle through hard work, and the support of each other.

“You’re really just like a second family whenever you stick together for this long and when somebody ranks up it’s like, ‘Oh man I’m falling behind, I better catch up so we don’t get separated from each other,” Polovich said.

“I like it a lot better because I’m doing it as a group with people I’ve always done it with,” said Capps.

“I’ve probably made some of the best friendships I’ve ever made because I’ve been with these guys for 10 plus years,” Carriker told KTVO.

Since the Eagle Scout honor began in 1912, 2.25 million have become Eagle Scouts.

Now, five more are joining the ranks, armed with skills, knowledge, the bond of friendship, and a sense of accomplishment of seeing a goal through until the end.

“Definitely it teaches you a lot of good values, you respect other people, you don’t try to be rude, you understand the world around you more,” Polovich said.

“A huge majority of what I know today,” Elmore said. “It’s part of who I am.”

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