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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 3 years ago

Forget the haters: Troop 403 Eagle Scouts say earning merit badges is cool

Three scouts proudly show off their community service projects and the loads of badges they've earned.
by: Emily Blackwood News Editor

"It sucks to win so much," 15-year-old Jacob Heller joked as he held up a bundle of awards from Troop 403's historical winning streak. 

Like their first-place troop, Heller and his fellow Eagle Scouts, 15-year-old Chase Mott and 13-year-old Robby Mott, are used to over-achieving — and they've got a sash full of merit badges to prove it. 

"I liked this one," Chase Mott said, pointing to the Small Boat Sailing Badge. "I would just tip everyone's boat over, and they'd have to tip them back." 

"Camping was my favorite," Heller said. "We had to go way out into the forest and see how long we would stay there. I stayed nine hours, but I snuck a hammock in." 

At first, the Eagle Scouts seem only to highlight their rough-housing and pranking. But after a few minutes of talking with them, it's clear that these high school boys understand the value of putting in hard work that benefits their community. 

Robby Mott repainted a map of the United States at Pine Trail Elementary because he saw it was worn out. He likes the feeling of knowing that when the students see its bright and shiny new paint job, they'll know he did it. 

"We look silly in these uniforms, but we do cool things." 

Chase Mott, 15, Troop 403 Eagle Scout

Chase Mott fixed up a few trees that had been taken over by some oddly placed fencing at the same elementary school. He deconstructed the fence, rebuilt it and even laid some mulch down around the trees. He said he remembers taking photos in front of that tree cluster when he was student, and he wanted the photo-op to look nice for those currently attending Pine Trail. 

Jacob Heller also revisited his old stomping ground at Temple Beth El, where he fixed up a front garden that was seriously in need of work. He took out the old plants, added new flowers and a fountain to complete the project. 

"People think scouts are stupid because we wear these uniforms and go out and earn merit badges," Heller said. "It seems stupid, but it's really fun." 


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