In just three months, 26 of the 31 members of Maricopa Boy Scout Troop 945 earned 102 merit badges.
This incredible feat bolsters the troop’s merit badge count to 460 among the 31 active Scouts. The troop currently has two Scouts with the rank of Eagle, and seven more are on the track to obtaining their Eagle.
The leading merit-badge holder in the troop is Eagle Jonathan Pulver with 42, followed by Star Scout Jonathan Wright with 36, all accumulated in two years. Boston Mooney, a Life rank, is next in the troop with 31 and Eagle Nicholas Mooney, Life Jarom Hoopes and Star Grant Pulver each have 28.
In their May 1 court of honor on, seven new Scouts joined the troop and a total of 15 Scouts earned rank advancements.
“This last three months, we kind of got everything rejuvenated in our troop,” said Tyler Wright, troop committee chair. “I just got put into the position in January. I went out to the older boys to see what I could do to get them to finish their Eagle.”
Scoutmaster Tom Bogle said many of his Scouts didn’t realize just how close they were to making Eagle.
What it took was someone to go through the troop’s records and make sure all the merit badges were properly recorded to each Scout. They found and corrected 21 merit badges that scouts earned but never received.
“We showed the boys, ‘This is all the work you have left. Are you willing to put in the work?’ We were hoping to get four or five more boys to get excited and say yes,” Bogle said.
What really makes the troop work so well, he said, is having so many people who are engaged with the community willing to help members of the troop earn merit badges and rank promotions.
“We love the Eagle project because this is the part where we get to see the Scout grow,” Wright said.
Five of the troop’s Scouts are expected to obtain their Eagles over the next two months. Less than 5 percent of Scouts obtain the rank of Eagle.
Troop 945 meets every Wednesday but often there will be extra meetings on other days, especially to work on merit badges.
“Whenever the leaders are available, we’re putting together opportunities for the boys to learn new skills. We invite them. We’re doing Scouting two or three times a week, sometimes four,” Wright said.
The troop, first chartered in 2007, is sponsored by the Pacana Park board but also gets strong support from the Maricopa Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Troop 945 was first chartered on Dec. 28, 2007, and its first scoutmaster was Andre St. Gelais.
This story appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.