Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is the highest level attainable and it carries with it an extremely prestigious reputation, as Eagle Scouts exude leadership, compassion, and service. Some of our most famous Americans became Eagle Scouts - astronauts, Nobel Laureates, Steven Spielberg, and more - and now GA’s own Richard Liao ’24 and Nathan Chang ’24 join their ranks. In their own words, they tell what it has been like to reach this high level, and why being a part of BSA has been such a positive experience in their lives.
Were there a lot of steps to become an Eagle Scout?
CHANG: Scouts must achieve six ranks beforehand (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life), which requires learning and demonstrating various skills to prepare young men for the future. Over my time before Eagle, I participated in many Eagle projects and other service projects for the community.
LIAO: After you advance through those ranks, you must get all the Eagle-required merit badges and complete an Eagle Scout project.
What was your project?
CHANG: When it came time to planning my project, I decided to go back to my roots at my elementary school - The Montessori School. The Montessori teaching style is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. To continue this method, I decided to build an outdoor classroom that would include a chalkboard and three benches. This project included detailed planning, drafting, woodwork craftsmanship, and leading.
LIAO: My project was building two lending libraries, one for Mission for Kids (a child abuse advocacy center) and the other for St. Dunstan's church. The concept of the lending library is that it is a free and more accessible mini library. My projects will impact both St. Dunstan's and Mission for Kids to help promote literacy.
Tell us about some fun things in Boy Scouts.
CHIANG: We frequently go on camping trips, where we do various activities like hiking, swimming, fishing, orienteering, and more. We also go on high adventure trips like Philmont, a 2-week backpacking trip in Colorado.
LIAO: I have always been interested in the outdoors, and I think Boy Scouts kindles that enjoyment. While having fun activities related to the outdoors, such as hiking, camping, backpacking, and canoeing, BSA finds ways to incorporate character development, citizenship training, and leadership that become more prevalent as you rise in the ranks of Scouts.
What were some of your favorite badges you received? Which was the most difficult?
LIAO: My favorite was earning the cooking merit badge. It was fun to learn different methods of cooking. We got to cook meals and then give those meals to our fellow scouts. The more difficult badges are the Eagle-required merit badges. I found the Citizenship in the Community merit badge to be difficult because it took a lot of research and time.
The boys have been in the same troop during the past seven years and earned their Eagle Scout honors around the same time. Being in the Scouts has been such a positive experience for Chang and Liao and they are taking away from it what it means to be a leader, a good friend, and a compassionate service-driven citizen.
“One of the most notable parts of Boy Scouts is its goal: ‘To prepare young men for life,’” said Chang. “In the modern world, we are taught to put ourselves first, ‘get good grades, go to a good college, get a high-paying job,’ The Boy Scouts teaches you to obligate yourself to others first, then yourself. This will hopefully encourage others to do the same.”