Finnian Carlson, a 2021 graduate of Manchester Essex Regional High School, and Alexander Everitt, MERHS Class of 2022, earned the rank of Eagle Scout this year. Separate Eagle courts of honor were held for each Eagle Scout this summer.
Both Scouts were leaders in Manchester’s Troop 3. Everitt held the role of Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) while Carlson was an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL).
Carlson said he joined Boy Scouts when he was in the second grade, inspired to join the program by his older brother. After reaching sixth grade, he earned the rank of Scout and climbed from Scout to Tenderfoot to Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and finally Eagle.
Everitt described his Scouting experience as “last-minute.” He joined Scouts in 2016 with a friend, in search of an after-school activity that offered hiking and exercise.
Everitt said he was soon inspired by the older Scouts he observed while hiking and decided to continue.
“I really didn’t think I was going to make it this far,” he said, “but two years ago, I decided... ‘I’ve come this far... Why don’t I complete it?’ The last two years, I’ve been working tirelessly to get the rest of it done.”
The Path to Eagle is demanding. Only 6.5% of Scouts become Eagle Scouts. It means spending at least six months as a Life Scout, earning 21 merit badges, holding a leadership role in the troop, and completing a community service project.
“To achieve the rank of Eagle,” Carlson said, “this project is really what shows... the determination, the grit, and the leadership that you have to show.”
A community service project consists of three stages: planning, which takes place before the project; executing, during the project; and reporting, which occurs after the project.
Scouts wishing to achieve Eagle find a beneficiary, a non-profit organization in their community, as part of the planning process.
The Manchester Historical Society was the beneficiary of Carlson’s project.
“My project was interviewing Manchester citizens about their experiences with COVID-19 in... their personal and work and school life,” he said.
Planning the project took around 10 months, Carlson said, and was extra rigorous for him because of the COVID-19 safety precautions he had to put in place.
“I just had to implement different strategies that would reduce any chance of contracting or giving off COVID-19 to my interviewees,” he said.
Carlson’s execution stage took roughly a month and a half, he said. Reporting on the 17 video interviews and 34 questionnaires took an additional month.
He said the Manchester Historical Society is storing his video interviews and questionnaires at the Manchester Historical Museum.
“I think my project really will benefit the community,” he said. “My goal for the project was basically to inform future generations if we ever have a problem like this in the future, like a pandemic, and we can easily recount from these files firsthand experiences that we had with COVID-19 that weren’t lost... It’s also a vital part of our town’s history— and the world’s.”
Everitt worked with Manchester Harbormaster Bion Pike to complete his Eagle Scout project, a series of five short video PSAs about boating safety, with the goal of inspiring public interest in safe boating classes.
He said each video is about one minute long and provides a short introduction to one of five different boating safety topics.
“It was mainly to get people interested and curious about the rest of the info that you can take when you actually go in for a safe boating class,” Everitt said.
According to the newest Eagle Scouts of Troop 3 in Manchester, the Eagle Scout community service project is just one aspect of a much more meaningful process.
Carlson urges young residents to join Scouts.
“Even if you don’t reach Eagle, it’s just incredibly satisfying and rewarding... the tools and experiences and skill set that you’ll get out of Scouts,” he said.
Carlson said Scouting taught him how to take care of himself, take care of others, communicate effectively, be a creative problem solver, and think on the spot.
“I think there’s two sides of [Scouts]. There’s a side of Scouts that everyone sees as camping, wilderness survival, hiking, physical fitness,” he said. “Scouts isn’t just for people who want to live out in the woods. It’s also useful if you want to live in the world as an adult and just acquire some of these very needed skills at an early stage.”
Everitt said he views Scouts as a promising start to the rest of his life.
“Not only will it... help me in colleges and jobs, I believe that... Scouts is a great teacher for life in general,” he said.
Everitt cited the Family Life Merit Badge and the Personal Management Badge, which teach Scouts concepts about life that are not taught in school.
He said he values the Scouting community because of the relationships Scouts can create in a “non-academic setting.”
“It creates different relationships. When you’re at school with your friends, you’re going to eat lunch with them and all that, but when you’re hiking out with your friends, it’s a whole different feeling and a whole different kind of bonding that I think everyone really should go and try,” Everitt said.
After a decade of Scouting, Carlson can reflect on the experiences that have shaped him.
“I feel a great sense of closure, really. Of 10 years of hard work and dedication,” he said.
Carlson’s Eagle Scout project can be accessed at the Manchester Historical Museum upon request. Everitt’s PSA videos are linked below to scan for viewing.