It has been over a decade since Nantucket has had one of its own earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement/rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program.
However that drought ended this year as three Nantucket High School students have earned that rank and were honored in a ceremony that took place on Main Street Saturday morning amidst other Christmas Stroll festivities. Gabe Zinser, Jeremy Caspe, and Quinn Keating are the three newest Eagle Scouts. The ceremony signified the culmination of several years of hard work.
They told the Current following the ceremony that it feels good to know that all of their efforts and the hundreds of hours they committed toward this one objective ended in them not only reaching their goal, but also becoming better men.
"It really teaches you a lot about taking more responsibility," Zinser said. "You have to go out and contact all these people because you need help to get your project done. You have to do all the fundraising and find all of those people who are going to help you do it. It is a lot of work, but it paid off."
Zinser's Eagle Scout project consisted of him building five bat houses for endangered Northern long-eared bats and donated them to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. The bats have been facing increased mortality due to White-Nose disease, but the hope is that Zinser’s project can help alleviate that problem.
Caspe repainted a United States-themed mural at the Nantucket Elementary School.
"It is just a lot of work to get to this point," Caspe said. "I'm just happy to have been able to get it done. A lot of people nowadays don't respect the rank I feel like as much as people once did, but the older crowd still certainly does so it is definitely worth it."
Keating's project was a bike repair station on Milestone Road. The station includes a map of Nantucket to help cyclists navigate the island and several tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers and an air pump, all secured by theft-proof wires.
"So much hardwork and honor goes into this so I am pretty happy to have it done," Keating said.
Attaining this rank is incredibly rare not just on the island, but across the country. Only about five percent of scouts are able to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. To earn Eagle, one must climb seven Scouting ranks, earn 21 merit badges, complete an Eagle Service Project, become a leader within their troop, and prepare their final Eagle Scout Binder.
Generally, the timeline to become an Eagle Scout is between 4-6 years, as scouts can't join the BSA until they are at least 10 years old. It usually takes 1-2 years to climb from the New Scout rank to First Class rank; two years to go from First Class rank to Life rank; and one to one and a half years to climb from Life rank to Eagle Scout.
Zinser, Caspe, and Keating each received several documents acknowledging the accomplishment from various U.S House and Senate members such as Rep. Bill Keating, Rep. Dylan Fernades, State Sen. Julian Cyr, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.