Eagle Scouts recognized at Court of Honor

Jan Garrison

Record for Culver Troop


May 6, 2021

Six members of Culver Academies’ Boy Scout Troop 261 were recognized Sunday, May 6, during the troops Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony. It is the largest group of scouts to be recognized in the history of the troop, Scoutmaster Mary Szymusiak said.

Troop 261 operates in cooperation with students’ hometown troops, allowing them to continue their community service work and complete their Eagle Scout requirements.

The six scouts honored were:

  • Aidan Olson ’21 (Valparaiso, Indiana) – Olson designed and built a boardwalk for the Shirley Heinz Land Trust in Valparaiso. The boardwalk is over 300 feet long and helped preserve a wetland that was being destroyed by heavy foot traffic. His design is now serving as the model for another boardwalks by the land trust.
  • Sam Durkin ’20 (Elmhurst, Illinois) – Durkin cleared and cleaned trails that run off the Academies’ golf course. New signs were added on the trails, which are often used by the cross country team during practice.
  • Robert Walker ’21 (Culver) – Walker cleared a space at Woodcraft Camp near the Scouting Cabin for a new overnight camp site. He coordinated getting the ground leveled and cleared of debris, built several platforms for tents, constructed a campfire area and installed a flag pole.
  • A. J. Collins ’21 (Culver) – A. J.’s project was the organization and inventory of all the yearbooks at the four Saudi Aramco Expatriate Schools at the central office location. The schools are located in Abqaiq, Dhahran, Ras Tanwa, and Udhailiyah in Saudi Arabia. The yearbooks date back to 1953.
  • Max Gifford ’22 (St. Louis, Missouri) – Gifford created several Culver Summer Alumni tribute videos by scanning images from the Culver Academies Museum’s archives since there was not a Homecoming weekend celebration last year.
  • Hunter Miller (Greencastle, Indiana) – His project was construction and installation of six mini-pantries in Greencastle, Bainbridge, and Roachdale. The pantries are for use by people facing food security issues.

Durkin, who graduated in 2020, earned his Eagle in June. Since Troop 261 only does one Court of Honor, his recognition fell into the 2021 timeframe.

Along with the Eagle Scout ceremony, two of the scouts were recognized for going beyond the standard requirements. It takes 21 merit badges, plus advancement and a major project to earn Eagle, Szymusiak said. Gifford completed an additional 15 merit badges on top of the required set, earning a Silver Palm (commonly known as 3 Palms). Miller earned an additional 25 merit badges, earning a Gold and Silver Palm (5 Palms). The palms are presented for every five additional merit badges earned.

The Boy Scouts and Culver have shared a long history, dating back to when founder Sir Robert Baden Powell traveled from England to help develop the Woodcraft program in 1912. Daniel Carter Beard, who guided the American scout program, was also active in the Woodcraft program in its formative years.

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