ASHLAND Eighteen-year-old Jeffrey Nance has made history by achieving the rank of Eagle Scout — the first one in the history of his Troop 165 to do so.
His project was to paint lines on the newly paved parking lot at Smith Lodge 775 in Flatwoods.
“They have been very generous to the Boy Scout troop over the years,” said Jay Nance, Jeffrey’s father and assistant troop leader. “We had gone to a meeting and cars were scattered in the parking lot and Jeffrey said, ‘It would be nice if they had lines’ and he asked them if we could put some in and they said, ‘Of course,’ so it went from there.”
The project was more complicated than it might seem. It must be a project that supports the community or a non-profit organization.
“You’re dealing with meetings and groups of people and doing things by committee, essentially,” Nance explained. “You’re coming in and out doing measurements to scale. When he was getting ready to start the project, the pandemic hit and we couldn’t get any help, so we delayed it by several months.”
Eventually, they decided it was time, so the Eagle Scout hopeful gathered some of his troop members and they got started.
“Jeffrey showed them how to make angles and how to make sure the measurements were right,” Nance said, adding the lines were hand painted.
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout requires the completion of 21 merit badges, 11 of which are specific, covering areas from camping and swimming to citizenship in the community, nation and world, as well as first aid, communication, family life and other life skills.
“To become an Eagle Scout, you have to be pretty rounded,” said Nance, who also attained Eagle Scout rank. “A lot of interpersonal and life skills have to be mastered.”
The younger Nance had always wanted to be an Eagle Scout, since he entered Scouting in the first grade, but being the first in his troop to achieve it was extra motivation.
“A number of boys are following right along in his footsteps,” Nance said. “Two or three will make Eagle Scout very soon and five others will be within the next 12 or 14 months.”
Nance, who also led his daughter’s Girl Scout troop, had been his son’s troop leader until February. Keith Hammond is the current Scout Master.
Scouting has always been important to the Nance family. Mrs. (Ursala) Nance led her younger daughter’s troop and had been a Girl Guide while growing up in New Zealand.
“I think what attracted us both to Scouting was the love of the outdoors and the challenges that come from that,” Nance said. “It’s unique because both programs are youth led and the youth get to run the program and develop themselves as leaders. You get to make all the mistakes, too, but they grow from it and they learn, which is great.”
Jeffrey Nance’s Eagle Scout Ceremony will be in the fall or early winter.
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Troop 165 Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America meets at 6 p.m. Mondays at Advance United Methodist Church in Flatwoods. Those interested in joining are welcome to attend the outdoor meeting.