One Tulsa family. One Boy Scout troop. Nine Eagle Scouts.
The Eagleton family boasts nine Eagle Scouts, all from Tulsa, all from Troop 1. The family’s tradition in Boy Scouts dates to the 1930s.
JP Eagleton, age 17, recently learned to pour concrete and lay brick and stone.
The Metro Christian Academy junior didn’t set out to become a mason; he set out to obtain the Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor.
The masonry skills were simply a stepping stone to advance his family’s legacy. JP is the ninth Eagleton — all from Tulsa, all from Troop 1 — to earn the Eagle Award.
“It’s just something we do; it’s just part of our DNA,” says JP’s father, Paul Eagleton, who earned the award in 1980 by creating trails at Oxley Nature Center.
Troop 1 is one of the oldest continuously chartered troops in the country. It has gathered at First Presbyterian Church in Tulsa since forming in 1910, according to the troop’s website.
The family’s scouting tradition dates to the 1930s, when JP’s grandfather James was a scout in Troop 1 and JP’s great-grandfather William was a volunteer.
James didn’t become an Eagle Scout, but he did pass down a fondness for scouting to four sons who attained the ranking. In turn, they passed it down to the next generation. Five more Eagletons — JP and his cousins — became Eagle Scouts.
“If I didn’t love it, I would have felt pressure, but it’s just what you did,” Paul says of scouting. “There wasn’t a second thought. I couldn’t wait to be in Boy Scouts.”
JP felt the same way.
“On my 11th birthday, the first thing I did was enroll in Scouts,” he says. “I started as early as I could.”
Only about 6 percent of Scouts go on to obtain the Eagle Scout Award, according to Scouting Magazine.
To become an Eagle Scout, one must earn at least 21 merit badges covering topics such as emergency preparedness and citizenship in the community, serve their unit in a leadership position, plan and execute a successful Eagle Scout Service Project and go before the Eagle Scout Board of Review.
JP’s project was to build a brick grill at Camp Loughridge, a nondenominational Christian camp. He chose the project because of his family’s longtime connection to the camp; his grandfather James was the attorney who originally worked to acquire the property for First Presbyterian.
What began as a fairly straightforward task taught JP patience and flexibility when the camp requested some changes, he says. The dimensions were doubled, the location changed and the materials altered. The planning and construction took about a year.
Paul Eagleton says Scouts provides enjoyable outdoor experiences while teaching skills and building character.
“The hook is the camping, being outside, building fires, exploring rivers,” Paul says. “That’s just fun. That’s the trick — get them in doing that fun stuff. Then, you get them into leadership, the projects and learning about patriotism.”
Paul says that as the world has changed, Boy Scouts has maintained its ability to “grow a boy into a man.”
“He says that a lot,” JP says with a smile.
So far, Boy Scouts adventures have led JP Eagleton 60 feet under the ocean and 14,000 feet above sea level.
He has cooked duck legs and risotto on campout fires and traveled hundreds of miles into the Canadian wilderness. But his latest and greatest milestone — becoming an Eagle Scout — is one his family will never forget.