OK, so we’re late with the congratulations, but its never too late to recognize great achievements! While googling for African-American Anglers, I came across an article on outdoor sporting achievments of teens and there was a reference to this Boy Scout Troop’s history making year in 2010.
Dallas Boy Scout Troop 914 makes history with 12 new Eagle Scouts
Dallas’s own Boy Scout Troop 914 honored a whopping 12 Eagle Scouts on Nov. 6, 2010.
While 12 is already an unheard-of number to achieve as the highestest rank in Scouting at one time from one troop, these boys made history for yet another reason.
All 12 2010 Eagle Scout graduates in Troop 914 are African-American.
According to Boy Scouts of America National Council, this is the second time in history this many African-American Scouts have earned the highest rank of Eagle Scout at one time.
Inspired by retired SMU professor Dr. Emeritus Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. of the Perkins School of Theology, former Scout Master Allen Avery and current Assistant Scout Master San Salvador Edwards started Cub Scout Pack 914 in 1996.
At the time, the troop had four members, all aged around five or six years old. Since then, the troop has produced nearly 40 Eagle Scouts.
“We couldn’t let our boys go by the wayside,” Edwards said. “I got involved because my son wanted to get involved.”
Edwards, an active member of the community and Scout representative for the New St. Luke Eagle Scouts based in St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, is a role model and father figure to many of the boys in Troop 914.
Xavier Barkwell, one of the original four members of Troop 914, is now finishing up his first semester at the Naval Academy.
“My grandmother coerced me into doing [Boy Scouts],” Barkwell said. “She thought it would be a good thing for me to do.”
Though he confesses that he didn’t really like Scouting at first, he said that the experiences he had and the relationships he built have helped get him to where he is now. Avery and particularly Edwards are both like fathers to him.
“Mr. San… I would assume that he considers me like another son,” Barkwell said. “If I ever need anything, he’s there for me. He’s always looking out for me. His son is like my brother. Actually, I call him my brother when I introduce him to people. They’re like another family to me.”
Troop 914 claims that it is unique for several reasons, but the one to which Barkwell credits its success is that the troop is all-inclusive; whereas, other troops seem to be exclusive to a certain group or type of people.
Historically, when they were founded in 1910, Boy Scouts were segregated into white troops and ‘colored troops.’ There were still troops in the south that remained segregated until 1970. According to Barkwell, many troops still tend to be all, or basically all, one race.
“We’re a very diverse troop,” he said. “Other troops may be a little more conservative or centered around one or maybe two races. But it looks good to see a troop that’s not centered around one thing.”
Scouts in Troop 914 are black, white, all types of Hispanic and Asian.
“We are mostly an African-American troop, but we welcome everybody,” Edwards said. “We are the most diverse troop in the area.”
He and current Scout Master Keith Kennedy attribute the diversity to Troop 914’s uniqueness as a whole.
“We took the Boy Scouts program and tweaked it a little bit to make sure our boys understand life lessons,” Edwards said.
Life lessons include skills like how to treat people, particularly women, with respect, proper courtesy and manners for various occasions and even how to change a tire.
“I mean, why would you want to go on a date and the guy doesn’t know how to change a tire?” Edwards said.
Scoutmaster Keith Kennedy underscored the group’s community service projects.
His son Dillon, at age 13 a precocious Eagle Scout, registered 70 people as bone marrow and organ donors. Jordan McRae, 16, collected more than 500 books for the library at East Dallas Community School.
Jordan wrote famous Eagle Scouts asking for help, and received from Ross Perot about 300 books and a personal interview.
“His Eagle project came off without a hitch,” said Velena McRae, his mother.
The ceremony included remarks from dignitaries, including Dallas Police Chief David Brown. William Edwards, 16, got the biggest laugh in speaking for the Eagle Scout group.
“Yes, we’ve been camping a lot,” he said. “A little too much, if you ask me.”
Earnest Lloyd places the Eagle pin on the pocket of his son, Matthew Lloyd.