It is a ranking only 2 percent of boy scouts ever achieve, Eagle Scout. But, one Central Nebraska Troop is beating the odds.
News 5's Jeniffer Berry introduces us to troop 911 in today's Celebrate Youth.
If you are ever in need of someone who can tie a perfect knot, administer first aid or someone who is just simply 'prepared' for practically anything, you might head to Phillips, Nebraska.
That is where you will find Boy Scout troop 911.
“It is really a great group of people to be around,” said William Obermeier, Troop 911
“We are all pretty good friends. Close together, so it is a lot of laughs and eventually getting things done,” said Zachary Eckert, Troop 911.
Many of these 12 boys have been together since first grade when they were Tiger Cubs. They got their own troop in 2004.
“This really has been just like another family. And that is what has been really, really special,” said David Sims, Scout Master.
Now six years later, they are all reaching another milestone together, achieving the organization's highest honor of Eagle Scout.
“In a town of 300 plus, to have this amount of boys all do it together, to reach it together is really, really special,” said David Sims, Scout Master.
Special but a lot of work, to achieve Eagle Scout each boy had to earn 21 merit badges.
This troop's earned an average of 33 per scout. For a grand total 398 merit badges.
Then there is the process of moving up through the scouting ranks, but the hardest part, these 12 boys will tell you, was organizing and completing their Eagle Scout projects.
“I think I spent 25 hours of my time and my dad's time and then we had close to a 100 hours with all the volunteers we had, so that helped,” said Ben Sohl, Troop 911.
Ben Sohl's project was refurbishing the hardware and picnic tables at the Phillips community ball fields. Just one of 12 Eagle Scout projects this troop had to complete.
There's Mitchell Moeller's dog run at the adopt a pet in aurora. Zach Wilsey made a planter for Tiffany Square's retirement home in Grand Island.
Batting cage and machine for Marquette were put together by Zach Eckert.
“It has been a long way, a lot like graduating I guess, which I will also be doing this year,” said Zachary Eckert, Troop 911.
“For my project I repainted the Bates House, a historical home at the plainsman museum in Aurora,” said Ben Harvey, Troop 911.
“My project was a landscape area that would help mark the girl scouts time capsule,” said Steven Stauffer, Troop 911.
William Obermeier restored the Twin Cottonwood's Monument.
“A lot of work went into it but a lot of it was organizing and saying, hey can you help me to other scouts,” said William Obermeier, Troop 911.
“My Eagle Scout project was I did bunker lockers for the Phillips volunteer fire department,” said John Sims, Troop 911.
Andrew Bergmann made a butterfly garden for a retirement home. And Josh Dana renovated the Phillips basketball court.
“You learn a lot of life skills through scouting and Eagle Scout just kind of culminates all those events,” said Josh Dana, Troop 911
All together this troop put in 2 thousand hours of volunteer work just to see those projects through, and over the course of their scouting careers, a collective 3 thousand hours.
But after years together what these boys will probably remember most, more than the hours of work, are the memories.
“It is an all around good time,” said Andrew Bergmann, Troop 911.
“I am going to miss the camping and the projects and stuff and just hanging out with people,” said Ben Harvey, Troop 911.
“It is like watching my own kids grow up; I really consider them my boys,” said David Sims, Scout Master.
And this scoutmaster's final message to them as they prepare to move forward isn't a lesson about tying knot or building a campfire it's this:
“Do not stop here, keep going. Do not stop now,” said David Sims, Scout Master.
Troop 911 is celebrating the 12 eagle scouts May 1st at 2 pm at the Aurora High School. David Sims is retiring as scoutmaster after next year, and unless a new leader steps up, it seems troop 911 will end with the same boys it started with.