The rank of Eagle is far from a simple task to achieve. It takes hard work, years of knowledge and determination to want to become something spectacular. After five years of summer camps, merit badges and dirty dishes to be cleaned, East Islip High School’s very own Andrew Sharkey can now stand in the top 2 percent of Boy Scouts in the world, and be proud to call himself an Eagle Scout.
To achieve this great honor, Sharkey has performed above and beyond the call of duty. Aside from the 21 required merit badges and other assorted scouting essentials, such as camping and first aid, Sharkey has performed over 150 hours of community service, including his Eagle project. This project, required of all scouts striving for Eagle rank, must not only be completely conceived of, organized, and led by the Scout, but must also serve a purpose of giving back and helping the community. Sharkey and his fellow Scouts raised funds and bought supplies to repair and rebuild shelves in the Islip Art Council art studios at Brookwood Hall, putting in countless hours of hard work. Lasting several months from beginning to end, the project not only beautified the inside of the building but also provided more storage for the art students.
When asked what Scouting meant to him, Andrew responded, “When I was first starting, I didn’t realize how much I was going to learn and I’m grateful for it. It definitely made me the person I am today.” As a role model for younger Scouts in his troop, Andrew helps lead those boys in their Scouting careers. With the hope of one day also becoming an Eagle, they too strive to do their best.
Founded in 1910 by William D. Boyce, the Boy Scouts of America has been an organization that has not only been renowned for encouraging the protection of the environment and showing the importance of giving back to the community, but also has been a stepping stone to help transform boys into extraordinary men. The BSA teaches boys from ages 11 to 18 the basics on how to care for themselves and work together, from cooking and surviving in the wilderness to mastering leadership and communication. Scouting has not only affected millions of members over its 100-plus years of activity, but also has produced some of the country’s greatest leaders such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
Each year fewer Scouts are signing to be chartered, however, and troop sizes have plunged considerably in attendance. Though the Scouting community has taken a blow, it won’t go down without a fight. Those like Sharkey who strive to reach the highest honor in Scouting, the rank of Eagle, are still the driving force behind the Scouting movement.
Article and photos by Scott Cole