This Sunday, Austin Gum and Nicholas Ciraulo of Boy Scout Troop 516 in Woodridge will receive their Eagle Scout awards – the highest advancement rank in Scouting. Both seniors at Downers Grove South High School, the pair will join nearly 50 Scouts from the local troop who have achieved the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is no easy task. According to Boy Scouts of America, a Scout must progress through the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life before becoming an Eagle Scout. He must also live by the Scout Oath and Law in his daily life, earn 21 merit badges, serve six months in a troop leadership position, take part in a Scoutmaster conference and successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
But perhaps the most important and publicly recognizable task an Eagle Scout must complete is to “plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for any religious organization or any school or community,” popularly known as his Eagle Scout project.
For the culminating project of their Scouting careers, Austin and Nicholas designed and implemented a new landscaping plan at Woodridge United Methodist Church at 7500 W. 75th St. where, fittingly, their Eagle Scout ceremony will take place on Sunday.
The aspiring Eagle Scouts worked with each other and with fellow members of their troop, family and church members to achieve their goal in two phases.
Austin implemented phase one of the effort – leading more than 50 volunteers in the installation of a stone wall and new drainage bed, plantings and grass. For phase two, Nicholas and a crew of volunteers created a brick patio meditation area and new plantings along the church’s south-facing windows.
The future Eagle Scouts not only designed the massive undertaking – but also scheduled and supervised volunteers and worked to acquire donated goods such as equipment, plants and trees to ensure the project’s end result was not only beautiful, but also on budget.
A full report documenting the entire project from beginning to end was submitted to the National Boy Scout Council before the Scouts could be officially considered for the rank of Eagle.
Future plans for the Eagle Scouts
Involved in scouting for 10 years, Austin enjoys politics, the outdoors, snowboarding and skateboarding – which, along with rock climbing, he teaches at the Indian Boundry YMCA. Austin plans to study business and political science at a college “out west,” such as at Weber State in Ogden, Utah or New Mexico Highlands.
Austin is the son of David and Lori Ann Gum and has a brother, Collin, 15.
Nick has been a Scout for eight years and, like Austin, enjoys the great outdoors. He is involved in choir, football and wrestling at Downers Grove South and after graduation this spring, plans to attend the College of DuPage for two years and continue at a four-year university to earn a degree in electrical engineering.
Nick is the son of Joe and Josephine Ciraulo has a brother, Anthony, 11.