Two local scouts — Curtis Call-Bridgewater and Coby Hooten — were officially recognized May 18 at Edna Martin Christian Center as Eagle Scouts. It’s an honor that has become more common in recent years, but it is still very rare.
Since the program’s inception in 1912, only about 4% of eligible Boy Scouts have become Eagle Scouts, the highest honor for a scout. The prospects are even slimmer for African Americans, who comprise only about 1% of Eagle Scouts.
Call-Bridgewater and Hooten, both 18, are from Troop 959 and have been in the scouts since they were 6. Scouts are required to have 21 merit badges to become an Eagle Scout, and both ended up with an additional 10.
“This has been a long journey,” said Nathan Williams, scout leader for Troop 123, which is sponsored by the Recorder and works closely with Troop 959. “I think a doctor’s degree is only 12 years.”
Troop 123 also had two scouts make Eagle rank recently, an accomplishment not lost on Williams as he considered how the odds are supposed to be stacked against African American scouts.
“The fact that we’ve produced four Eagle Scouts in the last two years out of these two troops is absolutely incredible,” he said.
Among the requirements to even be considered for Eagle rank is leading a service project. That includes writing a proposal, getting it approved, doing the project, writing a report and then having it reviewed by a board.
Call-Bridgewater renovated the youth center at his church in part by pulling out the tile and repainting everything. Hooten built new bat houses and renovated the recreation area for a women’s shelter. Williams said each project took about three months.
Williams said Call-Bridgewater and Hooten plan to go to college. Hooten is currently a junior assistant scout leader.
Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.