Five young men have earned their Eagle Scout badges, all from Troop 98 in Taos. Eagle Scout is the highest achievement attainable in the scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America.
Only 5 percent of all boys who are Scouts become Eagle Scouts. In the process of becoming an Eagle Scout, a boy builds self-esteem and self-worth, along with leadership skills and an understanding of the importance of duty of service, which, simply stated, means service over self. Some of the famous Eagle Scouts of our time have been Steven Spielberg, Neil Armstrong, Michael Bloomberg and Gerald Ford.
At a recent Taos Lions Club meeting at the La Fonda Hotel, the five young men were introduced. Here are the partial biographies they submitted.
Ryan Himes, junior at Taos Academy
“When I was a young Cub Scout, I talked with many older Scouts and other Eagle Scouts. They would tell me about their fun adventures and high adventure activities. As I worked through the ranks, I earned 43 merit badges and created my own adventures. With each Scout activity and outdoor outing I became more and more motivated to gain my Eagle award. Now that I am an Eagle Scout I am getting admission offers from colleges; I am eligible for more scholarships; and have a better chance at receiving the job I want. These opportunities are amazing but there is a bigger benefit to becoming an Eagle Scout. Throughout my scouting career, I have been taught by the Scout motto to ‘Be Prepared.’ The biggest lessons an Eagle Scout learns are the knowledge, values, and skills that prepare them for a lifetime. The defining feature of an Eagle Scout is that they are prepared for life.”
Aydin Gates, senior at Santa Fe Waldorf High School
“I have been involved in scouting since I was a small child and have developed a love for the natural environment as well as an understanding of leadership and fellowship.
“I have attended a Waldorf school my entire life. I began in kindergarten at Ecole des Enfants-del-la-Terre in Waterville, Quebec, then attended the Taos Waldorf School between third and eighth grade, and am now in my senior year at the Santa Fe Waldorf High School. I especially enjoy Waldorf because its curriculum includes a main lesson block schedule that covers a variety of subjects in the course of a year. These blocks last two hours every morning for three to four weeks at a time and offer me the opportunity to delve deeper into subjects such as classical mechanics or the flowering of language.
“In high school, I have been involved in a variety of extracurricular activities. They include playing the violin in the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Orchestra and my high school orchestra; putting my knowledge of Spanish to practice during a summer language academy in Granada, Spain; and being class president and a member of my school’s student council. As part of student council, I initiated the position of secretary, and gained an understanding of leadership that complemented my knowledge of leadership from scouting.
“Scouting has had a phenomenal influence on me. Whether traveling to the Grand Canyon or rafting the Desolation/Grey Canyons of the Green River in Utah, I have always been surrounded by thoughtful and enthusiastic fellow scouts and adults. As the senior patrol leader of Troop 98 in Taos, I gained an appreciation for servant leadership and working with other youth leaders to make trips and meetings fun and efficient. Our camaraderie and the adventures we had in the great outdoors were my inspiration to achieve the rank of Eagle and my determination to study environmental studies in college. My goal is to initiate and take part in efforts to conserve the natural environment so that future generations can live on a healthy planet.”
Samuel Smith, undergrad at UNM-Taos
Samuel Smith is an undergraduate student at University of New Mexico-Taos studying philosophy, politics and public policy. He has been a Boy Scout from an early age. He did not pursue the rank of Eagle for a period of almost two years. During this time, he had become disillusioned with the Boy Scouts of America. He did not want to be seen as supporting a group that discriminated against gay youth, gay leaders or transgendered people.
Nearing the end of his Scouting career, he decided that in the context of the Taos community, the Eagle Scout rank had a more precise meaning than what might be understood nationally. He realized that the problems in diversity and inclusion were less prevalent in Taos. Because he saw attaining his Eagle as supporting a community that did right, he felt justified in doing so.
“Being an Eagle Scout means nothing on its own. Symbols are meaningless without what stands behind them. The benefit of the program has, for the most part, been imparted by the time that someone reaches the rank of Eagle. But the experiences that lead up to the rank – of trial and adventure in the rugged stretches of American wilderness – these have value. I am thankful for the experiences of the program that helped open my world.”
Ross Foley, junior at Taos High School
“I recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout through the Boy Scouts of America and have been a scout in Troop 98 since 2008. Throughout my entire experience in scouting these adventures have taken me to Catalina Island, Yellowstone National Park, Green River, Philmont, and have had many awesome adventures. One of the highlights in my scouting career has been participating in National Youth Leadership Training. Four years ago I participated and learned a lot about leadership through a very fun, interactive camp, and for the past three years I have staffed the camp as a Quartermaster (gear guy), and Patrol Guide. In addition to my scouting life, I’ve been a competitive skier and mountain biker, and plan to attend college after graduating high school. I plan to go into the field of sports medicine. I am truly grateful to have had this experience in my life and I would like to thank my family, friends, troop, our chapter organization and the [Lions] Club for the support they have all shown.”
Tim Loosbrock, senior at Sargent High School in Monte Vista, Colorado
Tim Loosbrock lives in Alamosa, Colorado, and joined Troop 98 in 2015. He was previously a member of Troop 307 in Alamosa, where he served in numerous leadership positions, including two terms as senior patrol leader. He attended Ben Delatour Scout Ranch for five years. In 2013, he completed a Philmont trek with Troop 307. He was elected into the Order of the Arrow in 2013. For his Eagle Scout project, Loosbrock constructed two box planters with irrigation systems at St. James Episcopal Church so the church members could grow vegetables for their food pantry. He hopes to be a staff member with Philmont Scout Ranch this summer. He plans to major in English and put his passion for politics to good use.