NHS Alum Gains Eagle Scout Status, Talks Impact of Boy Scouts
Writer / Jon Shoulders
This spring Cameron Schlegel received what only four percent of Boy Scouts throughout the nation are granted – the official Eagle Scout badge, commemorating endless hours of community service, group leadership and dedication to fellow Scouts and Troop leaders.
Cameron began his Scout career in the second grade when he joined Cub Scout Pack 135 in Noblesville. After fourth grade he transitioned to Boy Scout Troop 101, headquartered at First United Methodist Church, and through the years he’s been immersed in community-oriented projects, camping, sporting and craft activities, and out-of-town Scouting sojourns at Michigan’s Isle Royal National Park and Ransburg Scout Reservation in Bloomington – all the while on a steady trajectory toward the highly-coveted Eagle badge so few Scouts ultimately earn.
“It was something I had been working on for the majority of my life, and growing up it just always seemed like part of my life, and it didn’t seem like anything out of the norm,” says Cameron, an Indy native whose maternal uncle and grandfather were also Eagle Scouts. “At the ceremony where I got the badge, it hit me that it was truly something special. It was not only an extreme weight off my shoulders but a moment of extreme pride because of how much it takes to be an Eagle Scout.”
Obtaining the Eagle badge is no walk in the park, it requires 21 merit badges, leadership positions within various Scout ranks and 100 hours logged toward a service project benefitting the local community. After requirements are met, a panel of officials conducts a review process assessing the individual’s entire Boy Scout career.
Only four percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank after the lengthy review process. The Crossroads of America Council serves 15,000 families throughout Central Indiana, and 410 Scouts earned Eagle rank in 2017 in the Council.
“But what is even more impressive is that of the 410 Scouts earning Eagle rank, DelMi District (Hamilton and Tipton Counties) accounted for 107 Eagles last year,” says Joe Wiltrout, Council Scouts Executive & CEO.
For Cameron, his service project involved the construction of a walkway on the grounds of First United Methodist Church to better accommodate elderly church participants.
“The church has an organic farm and a garden where the elderly folks can go if they want to garden but don’t have the space for it,” says Cameron, who also played club volleyball during all four of his years at Noblesville High School. “My project was building a walkway path because the ground was extremely uneven and rocky, and I made the path in a wider space for a bench to be put in.”
Cameron credits the leaders and fellow Boy Scouts within Troop 101 for providing him with the support system he needed to succeed and says his biggest challenge was taking the personal initiative to progress through the Scout ranks to get to Eagle status.
That hard work pays off, though.
Recently, Cameron and another fellow Eagle Scout jumped to action in a great display of leadership. When NHS went into a code red lockdown on May 25 due to a safety threat, Cameron and Chad Hutson helped their teacher, Eric Gunderson, secure the classroom.
“Those two helped secure my door,” Gunderson says. “They stood with me at the front of the room ready to deal with whatever came next. I’ve known these boys for a long time, and I could not be more proud. They didn’t ask to do something. They took action.”
“When people hear that you’re an Eagle Scout, they view you as a leader,” Cameron says. “And when you’re viewed as a leader you take on the responsibility of being an example for others, regardless of whether you want to. The Scouts teach you how to be a leader not only by giving you leadership opportunities but by putting great leaders in front of you and showing you how much of a difference in your life they can make so that you can be interested in making a difference in others’ lives.”