“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
That’s what the “Scout Oath” says. And for all BSA Scouts, that serious statement remains omnipresent. But for certain Scouts, the desire to live by the Scout Oath becomes a primary focus.
For that reason (and many others, certainly) Everett L., of Medfield’s Troop 89, will soon receive a Congressional Award gold medal – the U.S. Congress’ highest award for youth civilian service; an achievement that “recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in America’s youth.”
Much like Scouting, participants in the Congressional program set goals across four areas – public service, personal development, physical fitness, and exploration.
Those who earn the Congressional Award complete a minimum of 400 hours of community service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and a minimum of a five-day, four-night expedition/exploration (over two years).
In 2021, over 50,000 students across the US enrolled, with only 5,000 being recognized for any award and only 517 receiving the gold. Nearly 2,000 of the applicants came from New England, and last year, just one gold was given out in New Hampshire and eight in Massachusetts for 19 total across the six New England states.
Since the program’s inception in 1979, approximately 6,000 gold medals have been awarded and Scouts BSA has been a partner program of the Congressional Award since 1999.
“Most of my activities for the Eagle Scout rank counted towards the requirements of the Congressional Award,” explained Everett, whose family lives in Meredith, New Hampshire. “I also looked for ways to use technology in service projects; STEM tutoring for local students, 3D printing of objects for the handicapped, and creating educational drone videos.”
Of course, service is a way of life for the Scout, who attends New Hampton School (also in New Hampshire) as a member of the Class of 2024, twice earning the NHS award for “100 Hours of Service.”
“Everett is a very hardworking, independent young man. He accepts new challenges without second guessing and is a perfect model of a community citizen,” said Mr. Ryan Daye, Everett’s advisor at NHS. “I am grateful to have him in my advisory group here at The New Hampton School.”
“Everett comes in and gets the work done,” added Mr. Tony Mure, also of NHS. “Everett is a shining example of hard work, discipline, and focus. His ability to work independently and follow directions is second to none.
“He is a natural-born leader.”
Everett’s Scouting resume says the same.
“Everett is a ‘Scout’s Scout’ who came in as a sixth grader with no background in Cub scouts,” said Scoutmaster Jim Hatch in his commendation for the Eagle Badge [completed in May of 2022].
”His passion for engineering is very clear,” added Hatch. “His integration of his love of technology and the medal’s service requirements is very creative.”
A member of the Tantamous Lodge of the Order of the Arrow, where his ordeal and vigil hours counted towards his Congressional Award service requirements, Everett used Scouting as a scaffold for the Congressional program.
“It really builds off of Scouting,” he said. “And then it gives you the flexibility to create service projects that you design, which is where I was able to look for ways to use technology and engineering to help my community.”
Meanwhile, pursuing the Congressional award is also a family affair, Everett’s mother, Wendy,, was recognized for the Bronze Medal out of Culpeper, Virginia as a high school senior in 1994. Everett’s sister, Lillian, Inter-Lakes class of 2026, is currently pursuing a medal.
“Service is important to our family, the award is a great program, and Troop 89 is a wonderful way for young people to learn about helping others,” said Wendy.
“I’ll get a degree in engineering,” added Everett. “My service projects have really shown me how to use technology and science for the betterment of the community and I will continue that.”
However, for now, the Scouting adventure continues.
Everett is one of the 14 members of Troop 89 who will be hiking through the New Mexico back country at Philmont Scout Ranch in July of 2023 and plans to attend the Troop’s annual week at Camp Squanto near Plymouth, MA.
Congratulations and “Good Scouting!” Everett.
Fred Lybrand contributed to this report.