By Ian Crowley
It’s the pinnacle of scouting; the dream of all of the young scouts who stand in front of the U.S. flag, reciting the scout oath and law. To become an Eagle Scout requires hard work, dedication, and a fiery drive, not to mention years of commitment.
There are in total 7 ranks, each progressively more difficult than the next. While your journey starts at memorizing the basics of scouting, it ends with having 21 merit badges along with a rank – and honor – so observed it can make or break applications to colleges, jobs, programs, and events.
Rolando Camargo worked extremely hard to get to where he is – you do not simply coast along a gentle path to the summit of scouting. Scouting is not just a few 20 mile hikes to the end. It is better described as a beast, constantly trying to throw you, and one you must fight against. It will try at every chance to hold you in your current rank, and will do such a good job that you likely will no longer wish to advance. It will put out the fire in your heart that only you can relight.
At Rolando’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor, the ceremony in which the rank of Eagle is finally bestowed upon him, many great speakers were in attendance. One man who stuck out in particular to me was Rocky Gannon. Rocky Gannon spoke of how Scouting helped win the Second World War. He spoke of how during WWII German Submarines sat off the coast, sinking ships. The Germans could easily identify the boardwalk, as all of the lights were constantly left on, which in turn allowed them to find ships. In fact, the Germans had such a large presence right outside of Atlantic City that he recalled, “Every morning I would look out my window, hoping to not see Germans soldiers on the beach.”
Back in 1944, there were no smartphones. Matter of fact, there really wasn’t any effective method of mass communication, besides on foot. So, in 1940, the Government worked with coastal Boy Scouts to deliver the blackout messages to all residents – you see – there was no effective aerial GPS until about 20 years later, so bombers relied solely on their own eyes to find land. Because the Boy Scouts were so good at spreading this messages, the number of ship sinkings dropped sporadically from the year before, in which there were around 140.
Rocky Gannon also spoke about his time in the military, where he flew B-17’s and B-23’s. He shared a laugh as he mentioned how when you’re in an unpressurized B-17 at -65 degrees Fahrenheit, wrapped in 5 layers of clothes, you learn to not drink too much liquid.
Rolando also was congratulated by CMC Sheriff Bob Nolan and State Sen. Jeff Van Drew on his achievement. Rolando had the honor of pinning small Eagle pins onto his mother and father, while his mother pinned a large eagle onto his uniform and his father presented him with the traditional Eagle neckerchief.
Rolando’s Eagle project was rebuilding the dugouts by the baseball field. Time was running out – he had barely any left to plan and construct the concrete structures, and hope was running out, when suddenly, the community came together to help him.
Contractors, Electricians, and of course, a small army of Boy Scouts, all came together and built the dugouts. On Rolando’s 18th birthday, he handed the application in – if even the smallest thing was wrong, he wouldn’t get a chance to fix it. Today was his last day. Soon, he got the news – he had reached the summit of scouting.
The rank of Eagle.