May 08, 2013 - Just four days prior to his 14th birthday, Brandon Barrows officially became an Eagle Scout at an April 22 ceremony, making him the youngest in Oxford Boy Scout Troop 108 to receive the coveted rank.
Brandon Barrows, 13, recieved his Eagle Scout rank April 22. Photo by Trevor Keiser. (click for larger version)
"I feel like I've worked hard to earn it," Barrows said. "It's a huge accomplishment."
Barrows recalled being one of 10 boys, at his first Cub Scout meeting, to raise his hand indicating that he wanted to become an Eagle Scout. Only three of the 10, including Barrows, are still involved in scouting.
"I was going to continue from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts because I always heard about Eagle and thought it was really cool," he said. "I always I wanted to be an Eagle. My uncle, Kirk Hansen, is an Eagle Scout."
To help keep him motivated and focused, Barrows said he and his dad printed off all the requirements to become an Eagle, starting at Cub Scouts and hung them on the wall in his room.
"Each night we would say 'that's what we're going to work on' and start working on it during the week and get it checked off," he added. "Every time I checked something off it got me fired up to get the next badge."
Scouting's always been special to Barrows.
Through getting his merit badges Barrows said he has learned a variety of things such as effective communication and outdoor skills including how to tie knots, set up a tent and start a campfire. He has even learned personal management skills such as how to save money and the importance of being healthy through regular exercise.
"Kids my age think scouts are really stupid and nerdy, but it really is just overall fun with friends," he said. "We learn stuff that helps you in life."
In addition to earning merit badges, Barrows had to do an Eagle project.
"A previous Eagle Scout built bat houses and put them up at Seymour Lake Park and it kind of got me thinking (that) on my lake (Tan Lake) there are ducks and I could do duck houses," he said. "I originally wanted to make three, but when I raised the money through a pop can and bottle drive I ended up getting a little more money than I expected and I made four wood duck houses instead of three because I could."
The four wood duck houses were placed on an island in the Stringy Lakes, which include Tan, Clear, Cedar and Squaw Lakes.
Now that he has accomplished his goal of Eagle Scout, Barrows said he wants to spend some time getting what he calls "fun merit badges," which are things like kayaking, shotgun shooting, astronomy and computers.
"There is so many I can't name them all," he said.
Since he is now an Eagle Scout, for every five badges he receives, he will also receive a pin called "palms," which looks like a palm leaf. Speaking of merit badges, Barrows said the worst one he got was the "environmental badge."
"It was a nine-month process. I had to take pictures of environments and go out everyday and look at it," he said. It didn't change (until) the end."
His favorite merit badge was the "aviation badge," where he got to fly a remote control air plane.
"I like planes and the idea of flying," he said
Barrows said he is already planning on going to Michigan State University to get his bachelors and then after that he wants to join the U.S. Air Force.
"I want to get my pilots license and get all the pilot licenses I can get to become a commercial airline pilot," he said.
Beside scouts, Barrows enjoys playing baseball for Oxford U-14 travel team, snow boarding in the winter and wake boarding in the summer, as well as hanging out with friends, kayaking and spending time with family. He also has a strong faith and is a member of Kensington Community Church in Lake Orion.
"I'm a strong believer," he added. "I try to read the bible a lot, pray and I truly believe Jesus (Christ) is the savior."
Barrows said his faith also ties into being a scout, not only saying prayer around a campfire dinner, but at the end of every meeting they recite "May the great Scoutmaster of all Scouts be with you until we meet again." He said faith in God is a part of the scout law and the scout oath as well.
At the ceremony Barrows was honored by State Rep. Brad Jacobsen (R-Oxford), who is neighbor to Barrows on the lake. Jacobsen called him "a remarkable young man."
"An Eagle Scout at 13 years-old is a phenomenal accomplishment to start with," he said. "All of the details that were outlined in his life so far between church, community, civic activities, leadership in the cub scouts and boy scouts are phenomenal for someone his age."
"The whole scouting program is a good reminder of the best things about America," continued Jacobsen. "God and country, hard work, perseverance, be prepared, take care of yourself, take care of the people around you (and) be a good citizen."
As for his future in scouts, Barrows said he plans to continue in it all the way through high school and wants to mentor other scouts.
"Now that I have (become an Eagle Scout), I don't have to worry about it," Barrows said. "I can help other people become Eagle Scouts and enjoy it."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.