Dubai: Four boy scouts from Dubai-based Troop 813 of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have ascended to the rank of Eagle Scout – the highest achievement within the Boy Scouts Programme – during the first in-person Court of Honour ceremony since 2019 held recently at the American School of Dubai.
In addition, five boys, known fondly as the troop’s ‘Covid Eagles’, were recognised for having achieved their Eagle rank during the COVID-19 movement restrictions when they were unable to have a formal in-person induction ceremony.
The four young men from Troop 813 are senior patrol leaders Max Chow Everett (aged 16, from American School of Dubai), Aditya Jauhari (18, Dubai American School), Oscar Codes-Bodien (19, North Carolina State University) and Noah Weston Essick (16, American School of Dubai).
The troop’s ‘Covid Eagles’ that rose to the position of Eagle during the pandemic are Trenton James Rose Kaferle (17, American School of Dubai), Jacob Ashton Essick (17, American School of Dubai), Adam J. Anis (19, Boston College), Ulysses Hendershott (19, Colorado State University), and Shaan Niazi (19, University of Texas).
“To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout is to reach the highest rank possible in the BSA and is a testament to each individual’s dedication to progressive self-development and long hours of purpose-driven effort,” said Sean Riordan, Scoutmaster, Troop 813.
The elite Eagle cohort, achieved by just four per cent of Scouts, boasts US presidents, astronauts, and business leaders within its ranks. Notable Eagle Scouts include former US President Gerald Ford, astronaut Neil Armstrong, billionaires Bill Gates and J. Willard Marriott Jr., and acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
A scout is tested in his ability to persevere to his goal despite the difficulty of the task set before him, and in doing so, unearth and ascertain his character as an individual. The pandemic has affected many communities in various ways, and Troop 813 was no exception, as the Covid Eagles had to find innovative ways to progress and push through.
Essick said: “We had to show exceptional resilience to achieve the ranking during the pandemic, which limited our ability to meet, earn merit badges and to complete our Eagle Project.”
Jauhari added: “We have come through many challenges together, but it was particularly difficult during the pandemic to stay focused on our goals. We met online, camped in the backyard of our houses, the opposite of what makes Scouting memorable.”
Kaferle said: “We all felt the absence of a tangible, offline community. COVID-19 proved to be a true test of perseverance through one of the toughest times we have had to endure together.”
Leadership and teamwork
“We do things as a group, but it’s our unique abilities and understanding that allows us to bond as people and function together. Scouting allows us to expand our minds and explore interests in more detail as a youth. When we become older, we take on leadership and teamwork roles which are invaluable when moving into university or work,” said Everett.
He continued: “My journey as a Scout has helped me to become calm, methodical, and logical in what I do. I gained the ability to understand what it means to be a good leader from people who exemplify the idea of leadership and teamwork.”
Troop 813, the UAE branch of the Boy Scouts of America, has been operating in Dubai since 1991. A total of 94 Scouts from Troop 813 have achieved Eagle ranking, while there are around 2 million recognised Eagles to date globally since 1910.