RAVENA — It’s an honor Boy Scouts work toward for nearly a decade, and one few achieve. Philip Crandall Jr. has done so, becoming Ravena’s latest Eagle Scout this fall.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank to which a Boy Scout can aspire, and is only awarded after numerous requirements are met and a lengthy review process takes place. It takes years to meet all the mandatory achievements, including a minimum of 21 merit badges.
For Crandall, the road to Eagle Scout began when he was in third grade when he joined Cub Scouts as a Bear Scout. In 2011 he crossed over into Boy Scouts, and for seven more years worked toward the vaunted Eagle Scout rank.
He is in good company. Some of the nation’s most accomplished men are Eagle Scouts, a rank one carries for life.
Eagle Scouts include former U.S. President Gerald Ford, Academy Award-winning film director Steven Spielberg, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (also the former president of the Boy Scouts of America) and astronaut Neil Armstrong, among many others.
While 21 merit badges at a minimum are required to make Eagle Scout, Crandall — as is typical for an Eagle — went above and beyond, earning a total of 26 badges.
Each badge has a series of requirements before a scout is awarded them, and some are more challenging than others.
“The hardest badges were the ones required for Eagle Scout, like the Family Life merit badge, which is based on communication in the family,” Crandall said. “It taught me that family is not just those you are related to, but others around you.”
“The Communication badge was also challenging,” Crandall continued. “The hardest part of both of them was the amount of time it took to get them.”
Crandall’s merit badges came over his seven years in scouting. Years ago he earned the Swimming merit badge. Some badges focused on more cerebral pursuits, like citizenship, while others were physically demanding.
“The Camping merit badge was also difficult,” Crandall said. “There is a lot of hiking, and you have to camp out in the wilderness for at least one night without the other scouts. It wasn’t too bad, but there was a lot of hiking..”
In addition to earning merit badges, a prospective Eagle Scout has to perform in a leadership capacity within his troop. Crandall was an “SPL” — a Senior Patrol Leader — a post he was required to hold for at least six months.
“The hardest part of Eagle Scout is getting all these achievements and waiting for time to go by. Once you get a position, you need to wait a required amount of time before you can move on to the next rank,” Crandall explained. “As you get higher in rank, the bigger the position you will need.”
One of the biggest, and most challenging, requirements for Eagle Scout is the famed Eagle Scout project, a project that in some way must benefit the community at large.
From getting the project approved by a central committee to raising money for materials, gathering fellow scouts and adult volunteers, and rallying them to provide many man-hours of labor, the project takes months of work and organization, and is among the most challenging things a prospective Eagle Scout has to complete.
For Crandall, he set his sights on making repairs to the Ravena VFW Post.
“I started in fall 2015, with other Boy Scouts and some adults. We worked on the VFW Hall in Mosher Park. We cleaned up the ramp and fixed and painted it. Then we had to wait for some time because of the weather, and in the summer of 2016 we finished up the foundation of the building,” Crandall said. “For the foundation, we scraped loose parts and painted it over.”
Crandall said he chose the VFW for his project because his family has long been involved with the organization. When his father, Coeymans Town Supervisor Philip Crandall, brought it up as a possible project, Crandall Jr. was all in.
“A while ago my father told me about the VFW Hall — he had spoken to my grandfather, who is a VFW member, and he told my dad they were trying to find someone to help out with the foundation and the ramp, to make it more stable and look nicer,” Crandall said. “I figured my grandfather is a member and I am looking for a project to do, so I thought this would be a good project.”
Along the way, Crandall received help and support from both adults and fellow scouts. In particular, he noted the assistance of his Troop 1067 Scoutmaster Dave Geoghegan.
“Mr. Geoghegan helped me a lot,” Crandall said. “He was one of my inspirations for learning how to be a leader. He was always there whenever I had a question, and he always helped me out. He is a great scoutmaster.”