The Boy Scouts of America introduced its highest rank, Eagle Scout, in 1911. Requirements for the top honor include earning at least 21 merit badges, demonstrating Scout Spirit in your daily life through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, and service and leadership.
The Eagle candidate also must complete an extensive project that he organizes, leads and manages. No small feat.
Ward Snyder, a sophomore at Myers Park High School is an Eagle Scout. When I met Snyder, he greeted me with a smile and a firm handshake while looking me directly in the eye.
Snyder, the third of three boys, had big shoes to fill. Every male for three generations in his family has attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
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"They all led the way for me," Snyder said.
He began his scouting at 9 as a Webelo.
"I loved all the activities, especially the camping trips," Snyder said.
Snyder also is an athlete. He has participated in swimming, tennis, baseball and basketball.
"My father is very big on all of us being fit," Snyder said. "I like it, too."
Snyder's service project was rebuilding and painting arbors and building five work tables at Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary. He put in 115 hours of work during a couple of months to complete his project.
"Family and friends helped me. It was great," Snyder said.
He was also the Trek Leader of eight Scouts and three adults on a hike in Philmont, N.M..
"We saw bear, camped, cooked outside and enjoyed nature. It was great to get away," the new Eagle Scout said.
Snyder is president of the sophomore class and enjoys being a leader.
"I love my high school. There are many opportunities and programs to be involved in," he said.
Snyder is involved in Interact, Rotary International's service club for students. He is also heading up Myers Park's talent show this year. The annual school fundraiser will be a lively show and Snyder will be performing a drum solo to musician Ce Low Green's song "Forget You."
A member of Troop 11 at Providence United Methodist Church, Snyder has had the added benefit of his father's involvement with Scouts.
"My dad, John, has been involved with scouting with me and my brothers for 15 years. He and my mom, Mary Beth, have always taken an interest in everything we've done. They passed down their faith and strong values to us," said Snyder.