By T. Scott Boatright
Riley Moegle says that one of the greatest things scouting has taught him is sailing.
But now Moegle is soaring with the Eagles.
Moegle, 18, a new Ruston High School graduate headed to Louisiana Tech University to major in physics, was recently conferred with the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America – Eagle Scout..
According to the BSA website, in Scouting the eagle stands for strength of character, and for knowledge of all phases of Scouting.
The eagle represents an understanding of community and nation, and a deep respect for the same. The eagle is a symbol of what a young man has done as well as what that young man will do, and will be, when he grows to manhood. The eagle is a leader. The eagle is respected, both by his peers and by his adult leaders.
Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process.In 2019, 8 percent of all Scouts BSA earned the Eagle Scout rank.
But Moegle is yet another Eagle for Troop 45, chartered by Trinity Methodist Church is Ruston, beating the odds and earning the designation of Eagle Scout.
Involved in scouting since becoming a Cub Scout in the first grade, Moegle capped off his scouting days recently by completing the final stage to reach Eagle rank by planning, organizing and completing a service project whereby he and his crew repaired the fishing pier at Lincoln Parish Park.
“I’ve seen others do Eagle projects at the park and part of that is because a scoutmaster has ties there and good ideas about what is needed,” Moegle said. “I kind of had an inside man (Assistant Scoutmaster Cain Budds), but it all turned out great.”
“Both days I had a couple of adults and eight to 10 kids,” Moegle said. “It was easier than I thought it would be, but it also took longer than I thought it would. I know that sounds weird. It wasn’t hard planning and preparing – getting ready – for it. But the actual work was harder, and took longer, than I really expected it to. It was just a longer process than I had thought it would be.”
Moegle said that one of the most important things he’s taking away from scouting is leadership.
“One of the main things scouting has taught me is to take the initiative when I’m doing things,” Moegle said. “Sometimes you can’t just wait around for someone to tell you what to do. Scouts is a learning experience and that’s one of the things I’ve learned.
“I think that’s something the younger scouts notice, and that’s something I wanted to be – a good teacher, or a good role model. And that’s something I want to be, so I’m really glad I got to lead them for a while.”
Moegle said he was simply carrying on a tradition he’s learned through scouting.
“I was the only scout my age,” Moegle said. “We had a great group of older scouts when I first got into the Boy Scouts.There was a two-year gap, and then just as big a gap between him and the younger ones. But we have a great group of parents with so many jumping in and helping out.
“The younger scouts have a tough job ahead with fewer older scouts providing the leadership that I had and learned to give, but I think they’re going to be fine because of that great group of parents.”
Moegle, who earned 32 merit badges along his journey to Eagle Scout, said small-boat sailing was his favorite.
“I’ve been asked what my favorite merit badge is so many times, and I keep changing my opinion on it,” Moegle said. “But I’m going to go with small-boat sailing. It was absolutely chaotic and awful, and I loved it. It was just so much fun. I can’t explain it, that’s just how it is.”
He earned that merit badge during an out-of-state camping trip.
“I went to Camp Hale in Oklahoma,” Moegle said. “It was me and another scout ahead of me – Brendan Hood. We were the two oldest kids in the troop and that was the last great campout I can think of.”
“That’s where I had that small-boat sailing class. So that’s one I really remember and always will. Camping was one of the best parts about scouting. My family wasn’t the most wilderness-oriented, so it was scouting that gave me the chance to go out and experience that.”
Moegle, the son of Forrest and Steele Moegle of Ruston, said he also plans to minor in Music at Tech.
“I plan to do some singing and acting,” Moegle said. “And I’ll be taking my memories, and the experiences I’ve had in scouting, with me. I definitely think it’s made me a better person and will help me in the future.
“It taught me how important it is to stay dedicated and keep your eyes on the end goal. It’s been a great experience for me.”