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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
1:54 PM Thu, Nov. 15th

Boy Scouts seek those with high award

By LOUISE KONIARSKI

The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT – Local Scouts are asking those who earned the Eagle Achievement Award, albeit decades ago, to step forward and take the lead in promoting healthy lifestyles and self-esteem among youth.

The effort is part of the Boy Scouts of America's 90th birthday celebration this year.

The Old Capitol District, Grand Canyon Council, with the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA), is attempting to identify and recruit Eagle Scouts within council boundaries for a leadership group. Old Capitol covers the area from Interstate 17 along Highway 69 to Prescott, southwest to Kirkland, west to Bagdad and north on Highway 89 to Ash Fork.

A. Zach Hirsch Jr., who's chairing the local effort, is asking all Eagle Scouts to contact him at (520) 445-7641 before Thursday, Aug. 31.

"Though we have a list of Eagle Scouts in the district, the basic list was made in 1990," said Hirsch, a NESA life member. "We are sure that many men holding the Eagle Scout award have moved here since then."

Several Scouts, some of whom ach-ieved their Eagle awards in the 1950s, gathered Wednesday to talk about their scouting experiences. Most said the Eagle Award made a great addition to resumés, but there were other benefits as well.

"It probably developed discipline, or more highly developed it if I had it in me," said rancher Jay Wilkinson, a Troop 10 Boy Scout who achieved Eagle status in 1953. "It has given me some direction and probably added to my ability to plan and a desire to teach boys in the scouting movement."

Wilkinson is a member of the Boy Scout Old Capitol District Committee. He works primarily on fund-raising and on the board monitoring Eagle Scout projects.

"If the boy has met all the criteria and done a good job, he's approved and passed on to the Eagle Award, which is the highest advancement a Boy Scout can achieve," Wilkinson said. "It's a long process. Dr. Taylor T. Hicks Sr. and my father were probably the prime reason I achieved it."

Dr. Paul H. Hicks also became an Eagle Scout in 1953. He maintains that the Boy Scouting experience was the best part of growing up in Prescott.

"My father was scoutmaster of our troop, Troop 10, and I formed a lifetime bonding with other friends there," he said. "We've kept that line of communication and camaraderie going by hiking at the Grand Canyon every year."

Hicks believes that it usually takes an adult leader to encourage boys to stay the rigorous Eagle Award course, which requires identifying and completing a project – like a foot bridge or volleyball court – benefiting the community.

"Chet Frisbie was very instrumental in my receiving the Eagle Award," he said. "He encouraged Jay and me to complete it, even though we got discouraged at times."

Hicks said all of his three sons are Eagle Scouts and Prescott High School graduates. Mark H. Hicks is a computer specialist at Fry's in Phoenix. Drs. Paul W. Hicks and Scott E. Hicks have their own dental practices in Prescott.

Scott E. Hicks recalled enjoying outdoor activities, hiking and learning about nature while scouting.

"Then in 1985, I put a lot of planning and effort into refurbishing playground equipment at Sacred Heart School as my Eagle project, and that was very rewarding," he said. "One of the things it (the Eagle process) teaches is discipline and perseverance. I think it's a valuable experience that a lot of young boys should be exposed to, and I hope to see more of them get involved in scouting."

Each council and district across the country will invite all Eagle Scouts, regardless of age or where they earned their award, to renew their commitment to the Boy Scouts and support this effort.

Nationally known members of the Eagle Scout Association include President Gerald R. Ford, Ross Perot, former astronaut Neil Armstrong and film director Steven Spielberg.