Proud to be a Scout

Hagerstown teen earns top Boy Scout honors

Hagerstown teen earns top Boy Scout honors

May 19, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD


There's a reason Kyle Rice, 18, doesn't like talking about being a Boy Scout, an experience that he said led to his life's greatest achievement.

In fact, Rice said that nobody at his high school outside his closest circle of friends knew that he was a Boy Scout.

"I guess they'll know after they read this story," he said.

Rice, a senior at South Hagerstown High School, recently was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout - the highest rank in Scouting. He will attend the official Eagle Scout Court of Honor in two weeks. His mother, Cindy Rice, has been preparing the invitations for nearly a month.


Kyle Rice said he's a proud Boy Scout, and he's especially proud to be an Eagle Scout.

His father, Earle Rice, is an Eagle Scout. Kyle Rice hopes his younger brother Tyler Rice, 14, will become an Eagle Scout, too.

"We're hoping for a three-peat," Kyle Rice said.

There is a perception shared by his peers that Scouting is uncool, Rice said. That was the reason that he refrained until recently from broadcasting the fact that he was a Boy Scout to his classmates.

His mother said that she knew from being married to an Eagle Scout and associating with adult Scouts that there was a stigma to Scouting.

She said she knew of adult men who wouldn't dare divulge that they were Boy Scouts, even though a number of Scouts went on to be important leaders.

Famous Scouts include U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former President Gerald R. Ford, according to the Boy Scouts of America's Web site.

"It's a mind-set, that Scouting is soft," his mother said.

It's no secret that Scouting isn't as popular as it used to be. Reports prepared by the Boy Scouts of America show that 2.98 million youths participated in Boy Scouts in 2005 - 11.6 percent fewer than in 2001.

Rice said his latest project, a picnic pad at Fort Frederick, is proof that Scouting is hard work. He said it reaffirmed that Scouting is a worthwhile endeavor.

After five months of planning, gathering resources and securing donations, Rice was able to build a picnic area with two grills and three tables. The entire project took five hours to build, Rice said.

Rice was awarded the Eagle Scout rank in March.

"It was probably the greatest accomplishment of my life," Rice said.

Rice said he no longer minds telling his peers about what he does as a Scout.

"I'll probably talk about it more, now that I'm an Eagle Scout," Rice said. "A little bit more."

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