By Debbie Adams
Jayden Sink of Troop 42 received Scouting’s highest honor at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony at Living Water Christian Church on September 25. Sink has been involved in Scouting since he joined Cub Scout Pack 235 at Thrasher Memorial as a fifth grader in 2014. He has worked for seven years to reach the rank of Eagle Scout.
Jayden is a junior at William Byrd High School and the son of Jannette Hunt.
The Eagle Scout Court of Honor is a prestigious, memorable, and traditional event. Scout leaders review the candidate’s Scouting history from induction to the Eagle Scout rank, stressing his growth in the ideals of Scouting and share anecdotes about his journey.
When Jayden joined Pack 235 in Vinton, Greg Pino was his first Cubmaster and served as Master of Ceremonies for the Eagle Scout Court of Honor. Greg Leslie, who was his first Scoutmaster when he advanced to Troop 235, participated in the ceremony, along with Jayden’s current Scoutmaster in Troop 42, Hawk Hillberry.
The ceremony opened with the Presentation of Colors by members of Pack and Troop 42, followed by the recitation of the Scout Oath and Law and an invocation which emphasized the ideals of Scouting, “Our Father make us trustworthy, for there are those who trust us. Make us loyal, for through loyalty we reach our highest ideals. Teach us to be helpful, for through helpfulness do we forget our selfishness. Make us friendly, for there are so many who need a friend. Train us in courtesy, for courtesy is the carpet on life’s floor. Make us kind, for kindness is the oil in the cogs of life’s machinery. Make us cheerful, for cheerfulness is the green grass among the rocks in the path of life. Train us in thrift, for thrifty habits brighten our future. Help us to be clean in thoughts, in speech, and in deed. Among all things, help us to be reverent toward all things which you have made for our enjoyment when we are in the great outdoors, among the trees, along the streams, and on the hillsides.”
In welcoming guests to the Court of Honor, Pino said, “Scouting is no doubt one of the greatest organizations in the world to foster the highest ideals of citizenship. It is no wonder that so many of our nation’s greatest leaders had some of their earliest leadership experiences in Scouting. As most Scouts enter Scouting, they picture themselves becoming Eagle Scouts, but there are so many activities and interests clamoring for their attention that the flames that were burning inspiration dim to ashes and die away and the youth stop short.”
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a long and arduous process, the capstone of a Scouting career. Fewer than 8 percent of youth involved in Scouting advance to the rank of Eagle Scout. In 1911 the Boy Scouts of America chose the Eagle to symbolize the highest achievement—a symbol of Scouting’s best. The Eagle Scout rank is a title held for life. “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.”
Pino said, “What does the Eagle badge represent? It means that a Scout set a goal and worked to achieve that goal. The Eagle Scout badge stands for strength of character. The Eagle Scout rank is a symbol of what a Scout has achieved, but more importantly, it represents who they are and who they will continue to be in the future as they grow.”
The Eagle Scout ceremony continued with the Order of the Arrow “Wisdom of the Winds” ceremony led by a team of Exemplar Ceremonial Scouts, the introduction of Jayden’s mother, and presentation of the Eagle Pin and Neckerchief by Scoutmaster Hillberry.
Greg Leslie gave the new Eagle his charge: “Your position is one of honor. You are a marked man. As an Eagle Scout, you have assumed a solemn obligation to do your duty to God, to country, to your fellow Scouts, and to mankind in general. This is a great undertaking. As you live up to your obligations, you bring honor to yourself and your brother Scouts. I charge you to be among those who dedicate their skills and ability to the common good. Build America on the solid foundation of clean living, honest work, unselfish citizenship, and reverence for God, and whatever others may do, you will leave behind a record of which every Scout can be proud.”
Jayden himself presented several pins and special recognitions to those who have assisted him on his Scouting journey, beginning with his mother, who received seven roses—one for each rank of Scouting, which he earned in seven years.
“No one travels the trail to the Eagle alone,” Jayden noted. “Many people have been involved with me in my progress and I am so grateful to them all for their wisdom, and for believing in me and the Scouting programs. In Scouting there is another person who is honored in addition to the Eagle Scout and that is the Scout’s mother. From the first overnight camp-out to the pinning on of my Eagle, she has been there for every adventure in Scouting. She has watched me mature from a young, shy child to a young man with a purpose, who is passion-driven, and a voice for those who need one.”
Jayden brought Betty Wimmer to the podium to pay tribute to her son, Scoutmaster Rick Wimmer, who passed away in 2018. He noted that he met Rick Wimmer at Camp Atari in 2015 and it changed his life. “He was an amazing man. He was my dad in Scouting. He was someone you would trust with your life. Because of him, I wanted to be in the Order of the Arrow. I wouldn’t have had the strength to become an Eagle Scout without him.”
Jayden also presented a mentoring pin to his friend Scout Nick Leslie (accepted by his father, Greg) who he met in Troop 235 and who assisted him in working through the ranks of Scouting.
He recognized Scoutmaster Hillberry saying that meeting him was “the best thing that has happened to me; I wouldn’t have gotten to OA or Eagle without you.” Hillberry helped found Troop 42 in 2019 as a “Scoutabilities” troop, described by Jayden as “our area’s all-abilities unit” to meet the needs of scouts of all ability levels. As a result, Jayden has become an advocate for all abilities, to include, understand, and work with scouts who needed more patience, a different perspective, and a feeling that they do belong. “As my Scouting career has progressed, I have found that my strengths and leadership skills center around those with different abilities.”
Jayden presented an Eagle Scout neckerchief to 7-year-old Chase Garvey of Pack 42, who says he wants to be just like Jayden, who makes him feel included and special.”
In concluding the ceremony Scoutmaster Hillberry presented several more badges to Jayden earned beyond his Eagle Scout rank.
To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a Scouts must:
- Progress through the ranks in the following order: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle
- Earn 21 merit badges, including: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Cooking, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Environmental Science or Sustainability, Personal Management, Swimming or Hiking or Cycling, Camping, Family Life
- Serve six months in a position of responsibility.
- Plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or their community.
- Successfully complete their board of review for the Eagle Scout rank.
For his Eagle Scout Project. Jayden chose to build an inclusion playground at the Troutville Church of the Brethren.
“Scouting renewed my spirit and helped me believe in myself,” Jayden said. “I know that I would not have recognized my purpose, found my talents, made lifelong friendships, or have confidence in myself and my abilities if it wasn’t for the Scouting programs. I have learned who I am, who I want to be, who I can be, and who others see me as from scouting opportunities and the many volunteer leaders that guided me.”