Mackenzie Bruce and his brother, Mitchell, 15, recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout. The young men have two older brothers, Andrew and Kelly, who are also Eagle Scouts.
“It’s pretty much unheard of to have more than one Eagle in the family,” said Jerry Bruce, their father.
Jerry admitted he had never been in Scouting himself — though his mother was a den mother — but more than 25 years ago, he decided to give his boys the opportunity to join.
“We decided it would benefit our boys so we got involved,” Jerry said.
“There’s a bunch of fun activities and camping and you learn a bunch of fun stuff while you’re in it,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said he has earned the Arrow of Light Award, a silver Eagle Palm and 36 merit badges in Scouting. He plans on earning even more merit badge for skills such as automotive maintenance.
“I like doing electronics, those are fun,” Mitchell said.
For his Eagle project, Mitchell gathered a crew of workers to paint the hallways at Eisenhower Elementary.
“We had a big team,” Mitchell said. “I helped lead them and it turned out to be fairly easy because of all the help.”
Mitchell chose the project to give back to the school he once attended.
“(The hallways) used to be white and now they’re yellow and purple,” Mitchell said. “...It’s a cool change from when I was in there.”
Mackenzie Bruce said being in Scouting was an educational endeavor.
“It sure taught me life skills like how to cook and personal management – how to do checkbooks and bank accounts — knots, citizenship in the community and nation,” Mackenzie said.
Mackenzie is a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow — the national honor society of Boy Scout of America — and has earned a gold Eagle Palm.
Participating in service projects like cleaning up campsites and assisting younger Scouts are Mackenzie’s favorite things about Scouting.
“I like to help out the boys for their future,” Mackenzie said.
For his Eagle project, Mackenzie put together care packages containing items such as books, magazines, toiletries, breath mints, jerky, pens and paper. The care packages were taken to Fort Riley and transported to soldiers serving overseas.
“Part of my family was actually in the military and I’m kind of a history guy, so I just figured I’d do that,” Mackenzie said.
Kelly Bruce, who is now an assistant Scoutmaster, worked on a walking trail in McPherson for his Eagle project.
“Each boy was in charge of getting the workforce together, keeping everybody busy and keeping everyone on track in a leadership role,” Jerry said.
Oldest brother Andrew Bruce put up birdhouses and improved a walking trail at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge. He is now a Scoutmaster, owns Bruce Welding and Repair and serves as a volunteer firefighter in Galva.
“We’re proud of our brothers,” Mitchell said.
“We try to keep their minds and their bodies busy,” Jerry said. “It’s proved to be a good experience and very rewarding.”
There will be a Cub Scout sign up event from 6 to 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at Hopp’s Sno Shack, located at 214 E. Euclid in McPherson.
Cub Scouts is open to boys and girls in kindergarten through fifth-grade.
“There is a new program for kindergarten students called Lions, which some units started two years ago, when Quivira Council became one of the test councils,” District Executive Mark Hunter said.
The registration fee to join Scouting is $33 annually. In addition, there are one-time uniform costs and nominal activity fees that may be charged by your local unit or may be offset by unit fundraising and other available scholarship funds.
Contact Hunter at 620-245-0801 or Mark.Hunter@scouting.org for more information.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.