THS senior reaches rank of Eagle Scout
Ruff terrains, unknown wilderness and adventures are the images most people think about when it comes to Boy Scouts. But the motto "Always be prepared," means much more to those who are intimately involved with the organization.
The preparation for life that a participant of Boy Scouts receives is one that comes from hard work and dedication, and no one knows this better than 17-year-old Tyler Thomas.
The Tonganoxie High School senior was honored Saturday with a ceremony for reaching the high rank of Eagle Scout.
An Eagle Scout is a rank, which according to the Boy Scouts of America Web site, www.scouting.org, only 4 percent of those who enter into scouting actually complete.
"Becoming an Eagle Scout is more than just a hike and camping, you have to be loyal and you have to be an honest, reverent person," said Mike Kissinger, scoutmaster of the troop 62 in Linwood that Tyler belongs to. "Eagle Scout stands for a lot of things. An Eagle Scout is someone you could look to be a leader of a community someday."
And that's exactly how Tracy Thomas described her son as well, a natural-born leader. She said that it was that ability that motivated him to stick with it for so long.
A chance to give back
Part of the requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout is to complete a leadership project.
For his project, Tyler decided to focus on landscaping. He planted trees and a flower garden in front of Tonganoxie Junior High School
"I wanted to give back to my school and community," Tyler said. "And I thought they really had the need for it at the time."
The process was a long and difficult one though. Tyler said he had to come up with a design, get it approved by the principal, get materials and then find people who were willing to help.
The hardest part of the whole project, he said, was making sure he kept plans running efficiently by staying organized and getting enough people to work on the project.
"Tyler follows through with things and I think that's the quality of a good leader," said Kissinger. "When he accepts a challenge he does not let it defeat him."
Leading the way
In addition to his accomplishment as an Eagle Scout, Tyler said the proudest moment of his scouting career was being elected lodge vice-chief of the Order of the Arrow Lodge, which is the national camping society of Boy Scouts.
He was elected to hold one of the five positions by the 3,000 members of the lodge. The five officers of the position are responsible for conducting induction ceremonies and other events the lodge holds.
Tracy said she was proud of her son when she found out he had gotten such a prestigious position, but not at all surprised.
"He's not afraid to do anything," she said. "His whole person kind of fits into it because he's just that type of kid that when he sets his mind to do something he does it."
Kissinger said he expected Tyler to even run for the lodge chief position in the next year.
"Tyler is a very serious young man," he said. "When he decides to do something he puts his whole mind and his whole heart into it. He's very dedicated to what he chooses to do."
A family affair
Part of Tyler's success can be attributed to his family.
Kissinger said Tyler was lucky to have such a supportive family and a father who has gotten so involved with his son's activities.
"I've found that kids that are successful and the kind that follow through with things, the vast majority of the time, have parents that stand behind him and supports him," he said.
Tracy said that something her son's friends might not be aware of is how much Tyler loves his family. She said he was a very sensitive kid and was very family oriented.
Charles Thomas, Tyler's grandfather who has recently passed away, is one person who saw all of Tyler's accomplishments and had been there to support him.
In the future, Tyler said he has been considering going into the army. He would also like to find a school that was out west such as in Oregon or Montana.
Boy Scouts gives you "life skills that are going to help you for the rest of your life," Tyler said. "Things you don't think about at the time but when you get out in the work place, you find they really do come into play and really do help you out."
Through his experiences in boy scouts Tyler has learned those life skills that have prepared him for his future and he said that they are the main reason he is the person he is today.