Central Kitsap teens earn Eagle Scout

Travis Montgomery, third from left, stands with fellow Scouts of Boy Scout Troop 1539 at a Court of Honor ceremony Monday in Silverdale. Montgomery and Craig Orwin (not pictured,) recently achieved Eagle Scout rank - Kristin Okinaka
Travis Montgomery, third from left, stands with fellow Scouts of Boy Scout Troop 1539 at a Court of Honor ceremony Monday in Silverdale. Montgomery and Craig Orwin (not pictured,) recently achieved Eagle Scout rank
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka

Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout.

Two Central Kitsap teens can take on that outlook after earning the rank of Eagle Scout and adding the badge to dozens more already earned.

Craig Orwin, 18, received the merit in September and Travis Montgomery, 17, received it last month after completing a formal process. Both joined the troop in 2005 and knew even back then that they wanted to be an Eagle Scout.

“It’s a continuation thing for me — the lure of having an Eagle Scout badge, that really appealed to me,” said Orwin.

Both Central Kitsap High School seniors continued with Troop 1539 after previously being in Cub Scouts. Troop 1539, with 64 members, is in the Orca District of the Chief Seattle Council of Boy Scouts of America. The Silverdale troop was founded in 1972. The Orca District includes 22 different troops covering Central and North Kitsap County.

Scoutmaster of Troop 1539, Tom Bougan, said the age range of his scouts is from 10-and-a-half to 18 years old, with the average age of 13. He said that some boys, like Orwin and Montgomery, come to the troop from Cub Scouts but there is no prerequisite for joining the group. They just need to be boys who are at least 11 years old. Boys can join at a younger age if they received the Arrow of Light merit in Cub Scouts.

“We’re very outdoor-focused,” said Bougan. “We do more outdoor activities than others. We’re a bigger troop.”

The troop camped about 24 times last year, Bougan said. They have gone on biking expeditions from Silverdale to Deception Pass and back. They have climbed Mt. Ellinor and glissaded down.

Montgomery has spent 89 nights outside and Orwin 74.

To become an Eagle Scout, boys must work their way up the ranks through earning different merit badges. At minimum, they must earn 21 merit badges based on a variety of skills and activities to become an Eagle Scout, said Bougan. He added that there are 11 types that are required and more than 100 others available such as American business to woodworking. Part of becoming an Eagle Scout also includes coming up with a community service project and implementing it.

“I was pretty proud of those two,” said Bougan, who became the Scout Master shortly after Montgomery and Orwin joined the troop. “I’ve kind of grown up with those boys. I’ve watched them grow literally above from my waistline.”

Together the Eagle Scouts earned 70 merit badges. Montgomery’s service project was repairing the handicap access ramp at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Central Valley Road. Orwin renovated the basement of the hall because he said it was not up to the current fire code.

About 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earned the Eagle Scout rank in 2010, according to the Boy Scouts of America website. The average age a Scout becomes an Eagle Scout is 17.

Montgomery said the positive impacts of being in Boy Scouts has been the friends he has made and the general survival and first aid skills he has learned. He said if Scouts were trapped out in the wild, they would know how to make their way out safely.

“There’s always a skill that can be learned,” Montgomery said. “It’s definitely an opportunity every kid should have before they go out into the real world.”

Bougan said the troop is like a “leadership lab” for young men to learn how to “run the show.” Aside from all the outdoor activities his troop participates in, they also volunteer out in the community. Recently they helped the Chico Alliance Church organize and fill clothing donation bags to go to senior centers.

“Three of the four weekends a month we’ve got something going on,” Bougan said.

The troop is scheduled to have an open house Jan. 30 at the VFW Hall and will include a bonfire, Dutch-oven cooking and demonstrations of scouting skills.

“It’s learning the skills of working in groups. And, individuals making a good contribution to society as whole — that’s what it’s about,” said Orwin.


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