Washougal scouts earn Eagle rank

A local boy scout was awarded an Eagle rank during a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 9, at American Legion Hall Cape Horn Post 122 in Washougal.

William Weihl passed the Eagle Scout Board of Review last summer to advance to the rank of Eagle Scout, becoming the 11th member of Washougal’s Troop 497 to earn the rank in the past two years.

“We had a solid group of kids come through all at once,” said assistant scoutmaster Dane Jones. “They’ve worked together in scouts for the past eight years, they’ve grown up together, and it’s been magnificent to be a part of it. The number of young men this dedicated for this long of a time is atypical. This is a statistical outlier. A very small percentage of scouts attain the Eagle rank, so to have 11 kids qualify in the last couple years is extraordinary. It’s been breathtaking to watch these boys do all of the things they’ve done.”

Weihl, a senior at Washougal High School and participant in Clark College’s Running Start program, led a group of scouts and adult volunteers in building and replacing the sign for Sunnyside Memorial Cemetery in Washougal with 70 volunteer hours. Weihl is the son of Kelly-Marie Sutton and the late John Weihl.

Eight additional Troop 497 scouts earned Eagle badges from 2010-2016.

To attain the Eagle rank, the scouts completed service projects, including: designing and building a kiosk at the Washougal Salmon Hatchery; constructing a cremation scatter garden and American flag disposal box for the Washougal Memorial Cemetery; building new benches for a local soccer field; updating the flag pole platform and lending library at Hathaway Park; installing bike park challenges at Hamllik Park; and constructing a kiosk at Lower Hathaway Park.

“That’s the kind of leadership that’s been on display in the community,” Jones said. “To watch them do all of this has been pretty humbling.”

The scouts also had to earn 21 merit badges.

“Earning a badge means you have a working knowledge of a subject. They’ve worked on everything from automobile repair to cooking to photography to animal husbandry,” Jones said. “The range of interests that these young men have has required an entire community of adults to keep up with.”

Jones said earning an Eagle rank is the “ultimate” accomplishment for a scout.

“Adults who have earned the Eagle scout rank don’t say, ‘I used to be an Eagle scout.’ They say, ‘I am an Eagle scout.’ It becomes a part of who you are. It changes how you think about yourself,” he said. “It’s a bureaucratic process, and the amount of red tape and oversight is staggering, and a lot of scouts don’t want to do it. It’s a miserable climb — until you get to the top. Then you turn around and say, ‘Wow, look at this.’ It’s an experience that, if done right, will define you for life.”

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