Boy Scouts of America Troop 132 of Arlington Heights has a long history of building character for young people through adventure, responsibility, citizenship, and personal fitness. Troop 132 recently awarded August Graham and David Korakiewicz, friends and fellow Scouts since the 5th Grade, with the highest honor in Scouting: The Eagle. Nationally, only four percent of eligible Scouts earn Eagle, and Troop 132 has approximately 15% of its’ ranks achieve the highest rank. First awarded in 1911, requirements for Eagle Scout include earning twenty-one merit badges and demonstrating Scout spirit, service, and leadership. Making Eagle requires an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages.
When searching for a project, August Graham was drawn to a local Women’s Shelter. Upon reviewing the shelter’s needs and the project’s capacity, Graham embarked on replacing the current playground playset and refurbishing an existing swing set. Graham raised nearly $2,000 to fund the project, and Rainbow Playsets of Vernon Hills (www.rainbowplays.com) provided one of their premiere sets, including a climbing wall and slide, at cost. Aside from the playset, Graham replaced the railroad tie border and added new, play-grade mulch to the area. Graham’s employer, Craig Grandt, formerly of Grandt Shell Station of Arlington Heights, donated the necessary equipment to remove the old, dilapidated playset. The work to install and refurbish the play area occurred while COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were in effect, and volunteers wore masks and were socially distanced.
Part of Scouting is to help one another, and while assisting August Graham with his Scout Project, David recognized the shelter’s screened-in porch needed repair and paint. David was able to raise several hundred dollars to cover the cost of paint and lumber. Volunteers spent another weekend under COVID-19 guidelines to repair rotting wood and paint the porch. Like many home repair projects, once volunteers began their work, the scope of the project grew, and David effortlessly managed the unforeseen problems.
Both Scouts honored their mothers with a commemorative pin for the support offered during their years as Scouts at the Eagle Scout ceremony. Additionally, a Marine Corp spokesman presented both Eagle Scouts with a K-bar knife, a Marine’s most valued possession. Using the knife, the Scouts ranging from the oldest Scout — Graham’s father, Scout Master, and fellow Eagle Scout Andy Graham — to the youngest Scout — Graham’s cousin, Paschal Norton — cut a cake with the K-bar knife to symbolize the passing of knowledge and wisdom.
For both David and August, the draw to Scouts was friendship and camaraderie. David remarked, “I would never have gone caving or climbing alone, but with my friends, I wasn’t scared.” Further, both young men noted that the encouragement of older Scouts and the adults associated with the program was critical in completing the requirements for Scouting’s highest honor. Graham joked, “I couldn’t face all the people who had rooted for me if I hadn’t completed my project by the deadline.” A Scout must complete their project by their 18th birthday and Graham completed his project just days prior to his 18th birthday.
David Korakiewicz has recently completed his initial Boot Camp to become an Army Satellite and Maintenance Operator; earning his Eagle elevated him a full rank upon entry to the military. August is pursuing his goal of movie-making at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. August, David, and their other friends have a long history of making movies together. When asked if they would encourage others to pursue Eagle, both young men replied in unison, “yes! It’s totally worth it.” David added the project helped him be a leader, while Graham agreed the project served him by helping him be a better problem solver.
Troop 132 is dedicated to helping young people reach their full potential through various activities and outings. Troop 132 can be found on Facebook and at www.troop132.nwsc.org.
About Boy Scout Troop 132
Troop 132 is proudly sponsored by First United Methodist Church in Arlington Heights, IL. Scouts are open to all young people, grades 5th through age 18, who want to challenge themselves in a “fun-based” environment. The troop meets most Wednesday nights at 7:30 pm, and the Scouts create their program with leader support.
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