Rock Bridge senior earns prestigious Boy Scouts award

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | 5:48 p.m. CST; updated 8:20 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Quinn Pestle, 18, an Eagle Scout, smiles as he is congratulated on winning the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement during Troop 4's Winter Court of Honor on Monday at Trinity Presbyterian. The senior at Rock Bridge earned one of Boy Scout's most prestigious awards during his near ten years with the association.

COLUMBIA — A Rock Bridge senior camped for 175 nights, hiked 100 miles, spent 100 hours on the water and rode a bike 400 miles. He has sailed on a 42-foot sailboat off the coast of Florida, led a climb and campout at Capen Park and completed a 10-day hike in New Mexico, all before graduating from high school. 

Quinn Pestle, an Eagle Scout in Troop 4, became the first Missouri recipient of one of the Boy Scouts' highest honors: the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement. He was recognized Monday night at Trinity Presbyterian during the troop's Winter Honor Court.

According to the Boy Scouts of America's awards webpage, "the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement is the highest recognition that a Boy Scout (...) can earn for exemplary achievement, experience, and skill in multiple areas of outdoor endeavor."

A spokesman at the National Support Center of Boy Scouts of America said that the medal and National Outdoor Badge program were created in 2010. There have been a total of 30 medalists, including Pestle's Sept. 17, 2012, accomplishment.  

Pestle said the hardest part of earning the medal was planning to complete all the necessary requirements before his 18th birthday, the end of his Boy Scout career.

Assistant Scoutmaster Darren Freese said to fulfill the camping requirement Pestle needed to attend nearly every campout since becoming a Boy Scout almost 10 years ago. Pestle and his troop leaders realized just five months before he turned 18 that it might be possible for him to complete all the requirements in time to earn the award.

The program consists of five different areas of achievement in which scouts can win badges of merit: hiking, aquatics, adventure, riding and camping. Scouts earn each award after demonstrating they are capable and comfortable in any situation regarding the given outdoor activity.

In order to earn the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement a scout must obtain three out of five badges and complete an additional set of requirements. Pestle exceeded the requirements and earned a badge in all five emphasis areas.

Scouting runs in the Pestle family. His older brother, Andrew Pestle, 21, is also an Eagle Scout, the highest rank Boy Scouts of America offers. His younger brother, Grant Pestle, 17, is a Life Scout, the second-highest rank in Boy Scouts. 

Janet Pestle, Quinn Pestle's mother, thinks highly of the Boy Scouts program. "I'm a huge advocate of keeping kids busy. Scouting just affords you opportunity ... you might not get otherwise," she said.

Janet Pestle, admits that her sons' adventures make her nervous.

"Sometimes I give a little prayer just to keep them safe, but I know it's what makes them happy," she said.  

Quinn Pestle said he's proud and excited to be awarded the medal. However, he remains humble about his achievement.

"Yeah, knowing I had everything done felt pretty good," a smiling Quinn Pestle said minutes before walking on stage to be recognized for his achievement. 

Quinn Pestle hopes to attend a university to study mechanical engineering. He says he would like his children to one day to follow in his footsteps and join the Boy Scouts.

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.

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