Devlin earns recognition for his 11 years of hard work.
Over the course of the past 11 years, 18-year-old Brad Devlin has learned a lot about Scouting. He started as a Cub Scout in 2004 at 7 years old, progressed his way to the Boy Scouts in 2011, and on the 21st of this month, Devlin reached the highest achievement: Eagle Scout rank.
Devlin earned his 13 required Eagle merit badges over the course of his tenure as a Boy Scout, plus another 21 merit badges — for a total of 34 badges — before earning his Eagle rank.
Which merit badge was the hardest to earn?
“Probably personal fitness because it takes like six months to earn,” Devlin said. “You have to log your fitness over six months and stay on top of it for six months. So it’s kind of an everyday thing.”
Other Eagle Scout-specific merit badges include camping, cooking, first aid and personal management, which is mostly to do with sorting personal finances.
Because Devlin started Scouting at 7 years old, it’s difficult for him to remember exactly why he got into it in the first place. But he remembers always being in the woods and enjoying the outdoors. Also, his father, Todd, was a Cub Scout. Unlike his son, Todd didn’t stick with it and never made it into the Boy Scouts when he was younger.
However, as his son got more involved in Boy Scouts, Todd wanted to help. He eventually became Scoutmaster of Devlin’s group, Troop 20, in October 2014.
“The truth is that my wife volunteered me.” Todd said. “She says hey you should be a Tiger Cub leader. Weren’t you in Cub Scouts? They tell you oh it’s only an hour a week. It should be no problem, so I’m like OK, but that was the biggest lie I’ve ever been told.”
In fact, Devlin had many extracurricular aspects of his time as a Boy Scout, and spent far more than just an hour a week doing Boy Scout activities. For instance, he went to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M., where he completed an 83-mile hike over the course of 10 days.
“There’s a lot of staffed camps along the hike, and the Scouts get to do all kinds of activities such as spar pole climbing to blacksmithing to shooting muskets or throwing tomahawks,” Todd explained.
It’s a pretty rigorous course, and one that Devlin’s younger brother Jonathan, 16, plans to complete later this year. Devlin’s advice to his younger sibling?
“You don’t need a sweatshirt. It’s really hot there, and that’s just extra weight,” he said.
Believe it or not, there’s a wide array of important matters to consider while hiking that the layperson probably wouldn’t think of.
For instance, there’s the basics of wearing a backpack: “If the straps are too tight or too loose, it makes a difference over 80 miles,” Devlin explained. “Your waist strap holds all of your weight on your back evenly so it doesn’t wear down your shoulders. If the weight is more directed on your waist, it’s easier to carry.”
How to refill your water bottle: “Don’t get [water] from a sketchy place,” Devlin informed. “One time we ran a spigot and the color was all yellow. So if the color’s not right or if it’s sitting still it’s usually not a good spot to get water … there’s always the possibility that there’s bacteria in the water that will make you sick. It’s better to get it from a lake or a river.”
Devlin also had to complete an extensive service project to earn his Eagle Scout rank. For his project, he revamped the Memorial Stone site at Freedom Park in Medford by swapping out the old mulch with new mulch, enhancing the shrubbery and moving the 800-pound Memorial Stone from its location right in front of the bench, which was in the way of where visitors would sit, to its current location off to the side of the bench, making it easier to sit and admire the stone.
But Devlin’s Eagle Scout rank isn’t all he’s got to show for all his hard work; he was accepted into the University of Vermont, where he’ll begin his tenure as a business major Aug. 18. He’s also got two awfully proud parents.
Devlin learned all about “the good characteristics of a man,” he said.
“They brainwash you into being a good person,” he added, making his dad laugh.
“He’s definitely become more of a leader,” his mom, Deborah said. “We’re obviously very proud of him. Eleven years of sticking with something and it’s a pretty impressive goal.”