John Nolan and Jamie Carter have been friends since they were in the fourth grade at Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School. They lived in nearby neighborhoods - Carter in Sharon Woods and Nolan in Quail Hollow - their parents were friends and they played the same sports.
Now both are 18-year-old seniors at Charlotte Catholic High School, still friends and supporting each other in all they do, including earning their Eagle Scout rank.
Both Nolan and Carter joined the Boy Scouts when they were in the ninth grade, at age 14. For them, it was a way to learn more about outdoor activities, spend time together and learn to become leaders.
"A lot of guys are in Scouts when they are young but then drop out in middle school, when classes and life start to get hard," said Nolan. "We joined because we got to go camping and fishing, which is a fun way to escape hard classes and everything."
Carter said they also knew a lot of the boys in Troop 162 and were close with the leader, Bernie Funck, their football and rugby coach in middle school.
"Scouts is really hands-on, and since we knew everyone so well, it sounded like a lot of fun," said Carter.
"The main purpose is to teach us how to do things we might not otherwise have direction in, like whitewater rafting and hiking," said Nolan.
In Troop 162, which meets at St. Ann's Catholic Church, there are around 30 boys. Seven Scouts earned their Eagle Scout rank in 2010.
To reach the Eagle Scout rank, each Boy Scout must first earn 21 badges and complete a project before they are 18 years old.
Both Nolan and Carter earned the 21 badges needed to become Eagle Scouts and decided to help each other with their Eagle projects.
"In Scouts, everyone tries to help out with each other's (Eagle) projects because eventually, you'll need help with yours too," said Carter. "It's kind of like paying it forward."
Nolan said the projects are a good learning experience as well.
"It counts toward your service hours (for Boy Scouts) and they are actually pretty fun," he said.
In June 2010, Carter completed his Eagle project by building 12 bookcases for St. Gabriel's Catholic School. It took him 100 hours to complete and cost about $300.
Eagle Scout projects are completed using volunteers and raising money to fund the project.
"To help teach us leadership, we have to organize volunteers to help, write reports and draw models and keep in contact with the organization we are helping," said Carter.
Nolan said it can be hard taking a leadership role and directing people.
"It takes a lot of initiative to take charge and sometimes can be hard telling people what to do," said Nolan. "The goal of the project isn't so much you using your labor but directing the project and helping your volunteers by giving them advice."
Nolan's Eagle project, which he completed in September 2010, was to rebuild a polluted man-made pond at Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School. He said it took 350 hours and around $1,000 to complete.
"The pond was about five feet deep and filled with gravel," said Nolan. "We had to remove the gravel and rocks and then refilled it with clean water, added a waterfall and replaced the pump and did landscaping. It was a lot of work but it looked great in the end."
The boys will graduate from high school in May and have plans to attend college.
Both Nolan and Carter put their Eagle Scout ranks on their college applications.
"It shows you can take a leadership role and be dedicated to something even though your classes are hard," said Carter, who plans to attend Appalachian State University in the fall.
Nolan, who was accepted to Emory University in Atlanta, said earning his Eagle Scout rank helped him prepare for college.
"It teaches you a lot about helping others and keeping yourself organized," he said. "It was a great experience."