MORRIS – Eagle Scout is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve, and only 6 percent of scouts make that mark. Morris senior Jacob Davids of Troop 469 has joined that elite bunch.
Jacob rose through the required ranks of tenderfoot, second class, first class, star, and life; earned 21 merit badges; served for more than six months in his troops’ leadership positions; assisted in several community service projects; and planned and completed his Eagle Scout project.
It’s a goal that takes several years to complete.
“We are very proud of him,” Troop 469 Scoutmaster Darryl Gay said. “It’s quite an achievement, and it shows he stuck with it. He’s a goal-setter and a determined young man.”
Jacob’s achievement culminated in a court of honor held last weekend at his church, First Baptist Church of Morris.
“I think, depending on the troop, scouts is a very good program,” Jacob said. “There are some really fun things to do, and you make some awesome friends.”
Achieving Eagle Scout status was something Jacob wanted to do since he attended the Eagle court of honor of his cousin, Brian Davids. The goal kept him going through Cub Scouts, bridged him over to Boy Scouts, then on to Eagle.
In grade school, he was in Cub Scout Pack 476.
“A lot of kids were trying it,” he said of joining scouts, “and I wanted to see what it was all about. ... I loved the knot-tying races. Those were fun. I was really interested in what the Boy Scouts program was about. I looked forward to archery, fishing and shooting.”
Jacob said when Boy Scouts visited his den meetings, he always enjoyed hearing what they were doing in their troops. He most looked forward to outdoor activities, and when he bridged over to Boy Scouts himself, he took advantage of those offerings. He and his father, Marty, used to do a lot of fishing, and now, he, his father and mother, Cindy, go target and clay pigeon shooting.
“My favorite merit badges, by far, were archery, shotgun shooting and rifle shooting,” he said. “I did all three of them as soon as I could at summer camp. They were fun. I had to go back and get my last quarter shot for rifle, though.”
One of the requirements of earning the rifle merit badge, according to the Boy Scouts of America website www.scouting.org, is to fire five groups of shot, at three shots per group, where all end up in the target in an area that can be covered by a quarter.
“I was always off by a fraction of a hair,” he said.
Jacob loved camping, too, and over the years camped in Galena, at Rainbow Camp in Morris, at Camp Lowden in Oregon, and at Starved Rock State Park. He even camped out in the dead of winter on a father-son campout where he hiked across a frozen lake.
He was surprised at one camp he attended when he placed in a marksmanship award for which he didn’t even know he was competing.
“I was just shooting for fun,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was in a competition, and they announced I got third place. ... If I would have known, I would have tried harder.”
Jacob was in Morris Troop 471 for a good deal of Scouts, then by the time he began preparing for his Eagle, he transferred to Troop 469.
For his final Eagle project, he designed and placed a large wooden sign along Locust Street behind his church. There was already a large sign in front, he said, but as the road in back developed, no sign was ever placed to let drivers coming from the rear know the identity of the building.
It was a process that included a lot of planning, going before boards, making phone calls, obtaining funding, organizing teamwork to help and putting up the sign and landscaping underneath. He also made sure the sign would not be in the way of any sidewalk that the city may eventually put in at the site.
This year, Jacob will referee soccer and continue to participate on the swim team.