BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif -- There will come a day when there aren’t any World War II Veterans still living among us. When all of these mighty Americans have left us, only memories, history, and memorial sites will remain.
Approximately 16 million Americans served in the Armed Forces during World War II. Currently, 2.4 million youths and one million volunteers are participating in the Boy Scouts of America. It is safe to say, there are a fair amount of parallels between these organizations.
Aside from the obvious similarities, like uniforms, rank, and comradery, the Armed Forces, regardless of branch, values leadership.
According to their site, “The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.”
One such future leader, Braydon Cheney, a Boy Scout from Troop 36 in Marysville, took it upon himself to pay homage to those Americans who protected our nation as he completed his eagle project in hopes of progressing to the rank of Eagle Scout.
“We were looking at all of the projects we could do and when we saw the German POW site, we saw how it was all run down and we needed to restore it,” Braydon said. “With all of the prep and planning it took about two months."
During this time, his father, Tech. Sgt. Noah Cheney, an explosive ordinance disposal team leader and Scout Master of Troop 36 in Marysville, sponsored the project.
“Boys must complete an eagle project, among other things, in order to become an Eagle Scout,” Cheney said. “The Scouts themselves are in charge of it and it’s a leadership growth experience for them.”
Both the Armed Forces and the Boy Scouts both place members in uncomfortable situations at times that require them to grow as individuals. While Braydon did have the support of his father, the bulk of the project rested entirely on his shoulders.
“I was the lead on this project and it was cool to see about 27 volunteers helping out,” Braydon said. “It was difficult in situations and some parts were stressful, but I think the Boy Scouts of America is a very good system to use because you are able to get more leadership and get more prepared for the world.”
This leadership experience is one of the key components of the Boy Scout ethos and is designed to challenge participants to be prepared for whatever may come next, which is a very similar tactic used by the military as well. The team of boys pulled weeds, refurbished the signage, and laid new rock to revamp the area.
“The Eagle Project is really neat to be a part of because it’s really big growth for the boys,” Cheney said. “You can see the leadership as they have to do all the planning deciding what they are going to do, where they will get donations, and how to obtain supplies.”
The 9th Civil Engineer Squadron approved the endeavor as a base beautification project and were therefore able to provide rakes, paint, and rock to support the Scouts’ efforts. A parent’s job is not all that dissimilar to that of a military supervisor, in that, both do their very best to prepare those in their charge to be successful in life.
“The reason I wanted my son to be in the Boys Scouts is because it’s kind of like the Air Force, you know we have our core values and the Scouts have the Scout law and the Scout Oath, so that’s a good foundation,” Cheney said. “It’s a fun program that helps them be ready for the world.”