WCA Junior Franklin West started his journey to becoming an Eagle Scout seven years ago when he joined Troop 103 in Williamsburg. On May 6th, he saw that journey come to fruition at a Court of Honor Boy Scouts of America ceremony convened specifically for him and a fellow scout to receive the extraordinary honor of being appointed an Eagle Scout.
Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since its inception in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by over 2.5 million youth, only four percent of Scouts nationwide. Becoming an Eagle Scout involves a lengthy review process, including earning at least 21 merit badges in various disciplines or areas of study. West actually earned 45 badges, including search and rescue, wilderness survival, citizenship in the community, leatherwork and even welding. West has taken extensive trips, including a cycling trip along the Chesapeake and Ohio historic canal trail, which he chronicled in an Essay called “Sojourn on the Canal”, explaining how that trip would not have been possible if not for the existence of Virginia’s State Park System. His entry earned First Place (9th Grade) statewide in the Junior American Citizens Art and Creative Expression Contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. His submission from the Williamsburg Chapter won out of 125 DAR Chapters statewide. West actually now serves as President of the George Wythe Society, the Williamsburg chapter of the Children of the American Revolution.
The final ceremony that culminates in receiving the Eagle Scout medal is just the finish line of a long road to get there. Eagles Scouts also must demonstrate Scout Spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. While many scouts may undertake small scale projects that honor individuals or groups, West took on the complete planning, coordination, management and installation of the complete replacement of split rail fencing at the historic site of the Church on the Main, a special excavation site that unearthed a settlement era church nearby Jamestown. The fencing, which had become deteriorated and subject to vandalism had to be replaced with period-specific split rail, only available from specific suppliers. The project was completed with resource assistance from the Historic Virginia Land Conservancy, as well as Museum Resources Construction and Millwork, and Williams Landscape and Design. The project was a fairly massive one, involving 169 scout-man-hours from his fellow Troop members from Troop 103, 45 of which Franklin contributed himself. The site also carries special importance for Franklin, not only as a self-professed history buff who actually has an ancestor among the original colonists, but also in his memory of a deceased member of Troop 103, Andrew Outlaw. Each year the troop spends time at the site around Earth Day in honor of Andrew’s memory cleaning up the site, which also is the site of a metal sculpture in remembrance of Andrew’s love of nature. Franklin was grateful for the opportunity to not only address a location of importance to him, but to involve the rest of the troop and have an impact on younger troop members as well. “Watching everyone work together to figure out how to get things done was really exciting and gratifying,” explained West.
West’s many accomplishments leading to his Eagle Scout appointment include receiving the James Fuller Scoutmaster Award, Don Parker Service Award, and David Nunn Camping Award while in Troop 103. Among one of his most notable honors was being named a Boy Scout Vigil as a member of the National Order of the Arrow. The Vigil Honor is a high mark of distinction and recognition reserved for those Arrowmen who, by reason of exceptional service, personal effort, and unselfish interest, have made distinguished contributions beyond the immediate responsibilities of their position of office. It is important to note that Vigils are not named as a result of an application process, the honor must be bestowed upon the Scout.
In his time with the scouts he has stacked a tall pile of general achievements as well, such as National Jamboree NOVA Award, participating in a mile swim, and receiving his PADI Open water Dive Certification, among many more. At WCA he is a substantial contributor to many organizations and extracurriculars. Franklin has participated in Varsity Soccer, running club, and is Vice President of the National Honor Society. He was also named a student-athlete of the month for the fall season.
Please join us in congratulating Franklin on this substantial accomplishment!