Former island Tiger Cub preparing to become Eagle Scout on Saturday
The journey from Tiger Cub to one of scouting’s greatest achievements is a long and winding road, but one which James Beth has followed without a single misstep.
This Saturday, Beth — a longtime member of Boy Scout Troop 18, chartered to Gateway Trinity Lutheran Church of Fort Myers — will attend the Eagle Court of Honor, the final step in being officially named an Eagle Scout. Only two percent of scouts ever achieve this rank.
"I was in first grade when I heard about the Boy Scouts," recalled Beth, 18, who attends Gateway Charter High School. "I saw a flyer and I thought it looked interesting."
After asking his parents about joining the Boy Scouts, he learned that several members of his family, including his father, Jens, had quite a background with the group. In fact, his dad had been awarded the Crown Scout Award, the highest ranking bestowed upon members of the scouting organization in the United Kingdom.
On July 9, Beth presented himself to the Eagle Board of Review with the Southwest Florida Boy Scout Council in Fort Myers, when he learned that he would be awarded the rank of Eagle. His Eagle project included obtaining donations of funds and construction materials to create a landscaping area around the church sign at Church of the Redeemer, located on Winkler Road in Fort Myers. The project also included fencing around the parking area to protect the current landscaping.
With the help of his fellow scouts from Troop 18, along with some adult volunteers, Beth’s project was completed in just three weekends.
Eagle scouts must also complete 21 merit badges (12 specific badges are required), be active in the troop, do community service and instruct younger scouts. Some of the required merit badge topics include First Aid, Emergency Preparedness, Swimming and Citizenship.
"I enjoy learning those skills that aren’t taught in school, like knot-tying, camping, first aid and emergency preparedness," said Beth. "Scouting gives you that. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t learn all of them."
James has participated in scouting since September 2000 when he joined Pack 33 on Sanibel as a Tiger Cub. From there he crossed over to the Boy Scouts into Troop 140, and then onto Troop 18. James intends to remain in scouting and pursue a leadership position with his troop.
"Everything about scouting has interested me. It has never gotten boring," he explained. "When you become an Eagle Scout, you look back at all of the time and hard work it takes to achieve this."
In addition, James has also been an active volunteer with the Sanibel Island Fire Department.
Beth’s parents, Jens and Morganna, are extremely proud of James as well as his paternal grandparents, Jens P. and the late Renate Beth of Fort Myers, and his maternal grandparents, Jim and Betty Anholt, long-time Sanibel residents.
At the Court of Honor on Sept. 25, James will be formally recognized as an Eagle Scout. He will receive his certificate from the national office of the Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout identification, Eagle rank patch and medal.
As for his future plans, Beth is looking among several collegiate choices, where he intends to study marine biology. He would also like to pursue a career with the National Parks System, working either in Florida or elsewhere within the United States.
"I’d like to travel around a bit," he added.