The rank of Eagle Scout is highly lauded, as many young Boy Scouts never attain the position. But 18-year-old Sean Wilson of BSA Troop 281 was able to go the distance and become an Eagle Scout.
“You have to rank up through all the ranks,” explained Wilson. “Most of the process begins when you reach the rank of Life. When it comes to finalizing Eagle, you have to serve as a leader for so long in your troop. You have to have a certain number of Eagle-required merit badges and general merit badges. Then you have to go through the steps of completing a project.”
Perhaps the biggest part of ranking up is that every young man is required to “plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project.”
Wilson’s project was to build and install an education display unit at Ingram Pond in Millsboro.
“You have to find your project. I was lucky because mine was suggested to me. Then you have to go through all the legal paperwork, seek donations,” Wilson explained. “I went through the school district, so I had to go through the school district’s board, and the Buildings & Grounds Committee… It was great to get the whole thing finished.”
In August 2017, the need for an education display unit — which consisted of a table and cabinet — was expressed to Wilson. He then went through the process of design, approval and construction, with the physical project being completed at the end of February.
Wilson raised about $1,200 to fund the project, with donations from friends, family, local businesses and area charitable organizations. Contractors for a Cause donated $500 to the project, and Solid Image in Laurel donated a piece of granite and associated labor.
“We ended up using about $700, so I donated the rest to Ingram Pond,” said Wilson. “I really appreciated the donations. All of them were important — every little bit helped.”
Wilson said the project took about two days to build and one day for installation, with approximately 20 Scouts and adults helping.
Helping Ingram Pond seemed like the perfect project, said Wilson, as he had been to the facility for school field trips and Scout campouts.
“When we camp there, they let us stay and use the facility, the canoes — we’ll have a great weekend — and in exchange, we’ll do little cleanup jobs for them. We’ll do flowerbeds, spread mulch, clean up a trail for them,” he said. “I’ve been working with and around Ingram Pond as a student and as a Scout. When they expressed a need for an outdoor laboratory, I thought, ‘I’ve been to this place so much, I’ve done so much for this place. I should help them with this.’ I wanted to help improve something that’s done a lot for me and others.”
Wilson said there were many people to thank, including Scout dad Nick Kypreos and Wayne Stacey.
“Mr. Stacy was my project coach the entire time. He kept pushing me… I really appreciated all the support he gave me.”
He also thanked his parents for their support.
“I would like to thank them for all the support they gave me throughout the process. My dad kept me in line, in terms of the paperwork. My mom helped me throughout — she’d look over my paperwork and find my mistakes, and sometimes add a few,” he said with a laugh.
“I’m extremely proud,” said Sean’s dad, Paul, an assistant Scout master. “I think the goal when he joined Scouts was not for him to get Eagle — the goal was to have fun and learn things and experience things. He would’ve stayed in Scouts whether he got his Eagle or not. He enjoyed it. But I’m very glad he went the extra step and got the project done.
“It’s an honor. Very few scouts get Eagle. It’s helped — he got a $500 scholarship for college, it looks good on résumés… It’s definitely an accomplishment.”
Wilson joined Cub Scouts as a third-grader and, as he got older, chose to remain a part of the organization.
“I actually had a friend who had talked about a couple of the events they did, and they sounded pretty cool to me. I figured I’d branch out and try something, so I went and joined. I enjoyed what they did and the fun that happened. Going through Cub Scouts, it was fun. I learned a lot.
“Then I was told, ‘Hey, if you want to stick with it, there’s this bigger, more involved and kid-led version.’ I figured, ‘Yeah, why give it up if it’s going to get better from here?’ I stuck with it. I liked how involved it was.”
Wilson encouraged younger Scouts to stick with the organization and to work for their Eagle rank.
“For any Scouts out there that are about halfway through or close to Eagle… If you think you have an idea for an Eagle Scout project or you know where you can find one, and you have enough time, do it!” he said. “It’s the greatest feeling when you have the five signatures at the end of that book.”
Paul Wilson said being involved in Boy Scouts is a good activity for young men.
“This prepares them for adulthood,” he said. “Each rank they move up… they have to go through a Board of Review for each rank and when a 10-year-old is sitting across from a table from three adults, it’s preparing them for a job interview. We try to teach them to make eye contact when they’re speaking. We try to teach them to shake hands and say, ‘Thank you for your time.’ Little things that will help them.”
Currently, Troop 281 has about 50 registered Scouts, with about 40 of them very active young men.
“There are a lot of boys who are living with their grandparents or a single parent, and those are the boys that really benefit from Scouts because they get to go to Gettysburg, they get to go to Jamestown, they get to go skiing. They get to go to summer camp for a week.”
A musical star on the rise
Later this summer, Sean Wilson, who graduated from Indian River High School, will attend West Chester University to pursue a degree in music education. During his time at IRHS, Wilson played trombone in the school’s many ensembles.
“I’ve done band almost as long as I’ve done Scouts,” he said. “Going into fourth grade, band was introduced to us… I picked up trombone because it was one of the only ones I could make noise out of, and it looked fun to play. I kept up with it, noticed I really liked it, and I wanted to stay with it. Along the way, I realized there’s nothing else I want to do.”
Sean Wilson has also performed in marching band, concert band, pit band and honors band, and was selected to perform in All County Band and as the first chair trombone in State Band, which pulls from high school musicians across the state.
He even performed in a baroque group, which performed at the Dagsboro Tree Lighting ceremony and competed in renaissance festivals in Pennsylvania.
“You perform on the recorder. Everyone thinks of the dollar-store pink-and-yellow plastic recorders. No, they’re actually professional recorders,” he explained. “It’s one of the greatest things in my collection of instruments.”
While at college, Sean said he hopes to continue with Scouting, when time allows.
“I realize I can’t do Scouting, but I am a member of the Order of the Arrow, which is like National Honor Society [of which he was also a member] but for Scouts, and that ages out at 21 instead of 18,” he said, noting that there are chapters all over. “I can go and find one.”
On Aug. 4, surrounded by friends and family, a Court of Honor ceremony will be held to recognize Wilson’s rank achievement.
“Scouting is a combination of two things — how to give back to the community and how to be yourself and find things that interest you. I have friends from scouts who will be my friends for the rest of my life,” said Wilson, reflecting on his time with the organization. “It’s fun. You learn, you do good and you make memories.”
By Maria Counts