Scout’s honor

One young man’s journey through Boy Scouts reveals that hard work and determination go a long way
Monday, April 26, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:04 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chris Jenkins is one step away from joining the ranks of a president, an Olympian and an astronaut. He has spent the past three years working his way through the Boy Scouts and will soon reach the highest level — Eagle Scout.

The skills he has learned will culminate in a final project to complete his journey through the Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America says only about 4 percent of all Boy Scouts make it to Eagle.

“This has been more challenging than I could express verbally,” Jenkins says.

The path

There are 12 badges Scouts are required to earn to reach Eagle Scout. They also must attain other badges of their choice for a total of 21 badges.

Jenkins’ journey from Star Scout to Life Scout, which he is now, has required leadership and merit work.

He has held leadership positions, such as historian, patrol leader and assistant senior patrol leader — the top leader position under scout leader.

Reaching Eagle Scout is the main thing that kept Jenkins in Boy Scouts when some other friends “dropped like flies” after making second class and first class.

“It’s been my view that you need to have a goal for why you are in Boy Scouts,” Jenkins says. “It’s been pretty important to me to earn the Eagle.”

What it takes

His attention to detail is one thing that has aided Jenkins on his quick path to Eagle Scout, said his scoutmaster, David Jack.

“His organizational skills are phenomenal,” Jack says. “He’s really good at analyzing a schedule.”

Jack said Jenkins often “keeps him on his toes” by paying attention to plans and pointing out any mistakes or flaws.

His mother, Tina Jenkins, attributed his success to another trait. “He has a quality of self-discipline that I think is rare in one as young as he is,” she says.

His family has also been a contributing factor to his decision to remain in Boy Scouts and achieve the rank. For one, his uncle also received the rank of Eagle Scout.


Chris Jenkins pitches his tent while camping near Columbia. His scoutmaster, David Jack, said Jenkins’ attention to detail has helped him on his quick path to Eagle Scout.

“He was a neat icon to look at. I thought it would be neat to have another person in the family an Eagle Scout,” Jenkins says.

Plus, it is great to have the life skills he learned as a scout, and it looks great on a resume, Jenkins says.

Tina Jenkins is happy with the leadership skills and opportunities Boy Scouts has provided for her son. She particularly likes how the boys are required to step forward and take responsibility, such as leading a meeting made up of others their age, which is not an easy thing to do.

“It’s amazing to watch a young man emerge from a little boy,” she says. She adds that he has been transformed from a pure and exuberant 12-year-old to a directed and motivated 16-year-old.

Jenkins is a member of the Eagle Patrol in Troop 52. His troop, based out of Grace Bible Church, is a Christian-oriented group, as well as one for mostly home-schooled boys. Jenkins says that God has been present throughout his journey.

“God has really helped me as much as my parents have on this Eagle Scout project,” Jenkins says.

Jenkins' project

For his project, Jenkins will be leading a group of Scouts in a fix-up of a Habitat for Humanity resource shop. He got the idea from an article he read and has been working on the project for about six months.

Jenkins and his groups will be installing lattice around the balcony and staircase, painting walls and revamping and sorting a storage room.

Jenkins got the ideas for the improvements by going himself, taking pictures and assessing what needed to be done.

His scoutmaster says he is also impressed by Jenkins’ ability to think of important details of his project such as safety issues that others his age might not worry about.

“It’s been pretty impressive to watch him work,” Jack says. “He’s really a good young man, and I’m really proud of him.”

Jenkins’ mom agreed. “We’re really proud of him. He’s put a lot of effort into this to make it a high-quality project,” she says.

His Eagle Scout project is scheduled for this weekend.

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