Two local scouts reach organization’s highest rank

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Photo by Dennis Mansfield

Friends, family and fellow scouts surround Sean Sweeney and Derek Long after the two members of Kalkaska Boy Scout Troop No. 629 were officially honored as reaching the rank of Eagle Scout, the organization's highest honor, during ceremonies Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Kalkaska United Methodist Church on Beebe Road. Prior to being honored as Eagle Scouts, the two had to complete an Eagle Scout Project and Honor Court.

KALKASKA – Sure, a lot of youngsters sign up for scouting. But, very few stay active and motivated long enough to reach the status of “Eagle Scout,” the Boy Scout’s highest rank.

According to David Stockford, a former scout leader and himself an Eagle Scout, about only one-in-seven scouts earn scouting’s highest rank.

And, since 1981, the Kalkaska troop has seen just 16 of its members so honored.

“It is rare,” Stockford said.

And, that’s what has helped make a ceremony at the Kalkaska United Methodist Church on Beebe Road so special on Sunday, Jan. 13, as two local scouts – Derek Long and Sean Sweeney – joined the elite rank.

Terri Sibole, scout leader for Kalkaska Boy Scouts Troop No. 629, said the ceremony was a great chance for her to reflect on a decade in scouting, having been recruited as a den leader when signing up her twin sons.

In her first year, Sibole had as many as 26 first-graders in her group. Five years later only eight were still active and, currently, only six of the original group are still members of the troop.

“It helps you realize what a wonderful program scouting is,” she said. “These boys have made wonderful choices.

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