An Eagle Scout is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting, and Mike Ryan is the latest Pequot Lakes High School (PLHS) student to attain that rank.
He officially became an Eagle Scout last November, and though he couldn’t attend the banquet, Mike and other area young men who became Eagle Scouts in the past year were honored Saturday, April 13, in Brainerd.
Mike, 18, a PLHS senior, joined the Pequot Lakes Troop 102 Cub Scouts around first grade. His dad, Tom, was his den leader.
“I was one of Mikey’s early scout leaders as he progressed from a Tiger Cub through Webelos,” Tom Ryan said. “He consistently demonstrates the qualities of character which the Boy Scouts of America set as goals for young men. Mikey has worked hard to earn the rank of Eagle Scout and his mother, Theresa, and I are very proud of his achievement.”
Mike progressed to become a Boy Scout in sixth grade.
“It was a lot of fun to be in and to go to summer camp,” Mike said of his years in scouting.
He also enjoys the people involved in scouting.
“I don’t know if I would have made it through without Kevin Miller,” Mike said.
Miller, a 2012 PLHS graduate, also is an Eagle Scout, as is Mike’s older brother, Kevin, a 2011 PLHS graduate.
To become an Eagle Scout, scouts move up the ranks from Tender Foot to Second Class, First Class, Star and Life before the final rank of Eagle Scout.
Eagle Scouts must earn 21 merit badges, including first aid; citizenship in the community, nation and world; communications; environmental science; personal fitness; camping; family life; personal management; emergency preparedness or lifesaving; and cycling, hiking or swimming.
Eagle Scouts also must serve six months in a troop leadership position; plan, develop and give leadership to a service project for any religious organization, school or community; take part in a Scoutmaster conference; and, finally, successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
“It takes a lot of work and dedication, especially at a time in life when they have a lot of other things going on,” John Ryan (no relation to Mike), Troop 102 scout master, said of Eagle Scouts. “The dedication it takes to get there and the boys’ personal work and sacrifice are enormous. Commitment and leadership are what they take away from it.”
For an Eagle Scout service project, Mike approached Pequot Lakes Baptist Church — where troop meetings and events are held — and asked if anything needed to be done.
“I made a patio area at the Baptist church. It looks good. I’m pretty proud of it,” Mike said.
He helped create a design with a maintenance worker at the church and built the patio area with a work force of fellow troop members. In total, he and his co-workers put in 107 hours of service for the project.
Mike enjoys his fellow scouts, which is one reason he’s stuck with scouting all these years.
“We just get along really well and it’s taught me a lot of leadership skills,” he said.
Besides scouting, Mike is involved in cross country, basketball and track, as well as Knowledge Bowl at PLHS. He plays trombone with the PLHS Marching Band, Jazz Band and Concert Band.
He’s earned college credits through the College In the Schools program, and in the fall, Mike plans to attend the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul and major in mechanical engineering and participate in cross country.