RIVERVIEW – When only 4 percent of all Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, what are the odds of having two in one family?
Pretty good if you're part of the Beck clan.
David Beck, 17, and Paul Beck, 15, will be recognized for achieving the Eagle rank at their Court of Honor on Saturday. Over the past several months, both boys completed their service project and other requirements to achieve the highest recognition in scouting.
David Beck built and installed six benches around two separate fire pits at the Girl Scouts' Camp Dorothy Thomas in Riverview. And Paul Beck constructed six firewood shelters to store the wood for campfires.
“Before they just threw tarps over the wood where snakes and animals can nest under,” David Beck said about his brother's project.
It took about a month of planning for each project – and the help of some fellow scouts – for each boy to complete his project in one day.
The Eagle Service Project is “not about the Boy Scouts but serving the community,” said the boys' father, Mike Beck. “The project can't benefit Boy Scouts or an individual. And the scout has to plan, develop and give leadership to a religious, school or community organization to make a difference.”
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Beck works as a government service employee for Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base and has been the scoutmaster for Troop 61 in Brandon since 2010.
His wife, Laura, home-schools the couple's seven children, who range in age from 7 to 17.
Although he was never a Boy Scout, Beck wondered how he could give back to his community and mentor youth. Then, on a long plane ride for work, a fellow passenger suggested he get involved in scouting.
Shortly after moving to Florida from Colorado, Mike Beck signed up David and Paul – his two oldest boys – for Boy Scouts when they were 11 and 12 years old. He immediately jumped in and helped organize the hiking program.
And now Troop 61 has a third Beck brother in the troop. Jonathon, 11, was old enough to join in March.
The Becks' home is tucked away amid old, moss-draped live oaks down a long narrow driveway on two-and-a-half acres off Boyette Road in Riverview. Next door is the Girl Scouts' camp, which sits on 220 acres. And it's the camp where the boys got their idea for their service projects.
“When we were building the tree house, the ranger from the camp came over,” said Mike Beck. “He was an Eagle Scout himself and suggested some ideas he thought would make good service projects.”
Next year, David Beck plans to study mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida through the school's five-year master's program.
“Scouting has given me skills working with other people,” said David Beck. “I've learned to prepare and to make good decisions.”
Paul Beck is interested in applying to the Naval Academy in the future and joining the Marines as an officer.
“I've learned how to lead and (scouts) has helped me with planning and other skills like citizenship and first aid,” he said.
Their mother said one of the kids recently cut themselves opening a can and began bleeding profusely. David and Paul both jumped in to stop the bleeding before she could even think what to do.
The few who make the journey toward Eagle Scout know how difficult it is.
“It was as hard as I thought it would be,” David Beck said.
“I didn't like all the planning,” added his brother, Paul. “That part was not very much fun.”
But all that experience will be put to good use.
In three to four years, the brothers and the rest of their family will be helping their next Eagle Scout, Jonathon, plan his service project.
Elaine Speer is a freelance writer who can be reached at [email protected]