After speeding his way through the requirements, Conrad Short officially became an Eagle Scout Sunday.
Short, who is in eighth grade at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin STEM Academy, joined Pack 83 in Evanston, Wyo., as a wolf when he was 8. He earned his Arrow of Light with Pack 83 and then graduated to Troop 83 when he was 11.
He joined Troop 98 when he moved to Odessa and moved on to Troop 1908 where he completed his Life and Eagle ranks and earned three Eagle Palms. Troop 1908 is sponsored by VFW Post 3372.
Palms are the next step after Eagle. Every time a scout earns five additional merit badges, they have a scoutmaster conference about their plans and “what’s going on and they can earn an additional palms,” Scoutmaster Gary Callarman said.
The palms are pins in the shape of palm leaves, he said.
About 4 percent of the boys in scouting will get to the Eagle Scout rank, Callarman said.
“I’m really glad I did it and can help other people,” the 13-year-old said.
Callarman said Short is the first Eagle Scout for the 38-member Troop 1908, which is only four years old.
For his Eagle Scout project, Short painted PE areas for use by the students at the STEM Academy, plus the pickup and drop off lines in the parking lot for safety.
“I painted a basketball court and some other sports things on my school’s blacktop because we don’t have a gym. I was asking some other people about what they did for theirs to get an idea and a lot of them said painting — just something, so I had the idea of painting my school’s blacktop for pick p and drop-off and for gym, basketball and soccer,” Short said.
The safety line for pickup and drop off took about two days and the basketball court took a couple of hours.
He said he got help from his parents and Callarman.
Short said he enjoys going on campouts with the scouts and is looking forward to an upcoming trip to Yellowstone Park.
To become a Life Member, Short said he had to earn five merit badges, three of which were required for him to get his Eagle Scout and two were supposed to be from what he was interested in.
“I get to pick out of 21 and these ones that are silver are the required ones,” Short said pointing out the badges on his sash.
He earned badges for swimming, environmental science and communications. The badges that interested him that he obtained were robotics, chess and golf. Short has 37 badges, but he hasn’t received the last one yet.
Short’s brother, Cayden Short, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at UTPB STEM, said he thinks his brother’s accomplishment is cool. He is finishing his Star rank and wants to earn the Eagle Scout designation, as well.
Felicia Short, mom to Conrad and Cayden, said she is really proud of Conrad. The boys’ father, Nick, also is an Eagle Scout.
“He’s worked really hard over the past couple of years. A lot of people questioned that he’s only 13 and getting his Eagle, but he has been motivated. He turned 11 and he kept (going) full force and earned all his merit badges by the time he was 12, so he’s been motivated to get it done,” Felicia Short said.
Callarman said the Eagle Court of Honor is planned by the scout receiving the honor so the ceremony varies from plain to fancy.
“We have courts of honor four times a year for the troop, so all the boys get their recognition for stuff that they’ve done. Eagle court is a special thing. He actually has to plan for his court of honor, which has been driving him crazy. … We have a plaque that the Eagles get their name on forever until we fill it up … and then just various and sundry things,” Callarman said. “… There’s a special eagle neckerchief that he can wear in lieu of our troop neckerchief.”
Also, when the scouts earn Eagle, they can call Callarman by his first name. However, he said most of the boys he’s worked with can only bring themselves to call him Mr. Callarman.
“Anytime a young man gets to the point where he can earn his Eagle that’s a phenomenal accomplishment. I think I may be almost more excited than he is. It’s something that’s very special for the boys,” Callarman said.
Callarman said he was never a Boy Scout, but got involved when his son decided to join. Callarman added that he has worked with many young men to achieve Eagle.
“The Boy Scout program is a phenomenal program. It does take boys and turn them into really good young men, so I continued working with the program. Now I’m working with my grandsons,” Callarman said.
Felicia Short said scouting has helped Conrad learn leadership and gain independence.
“In Boy Scouts, the boys are in charge, so they learn how to lead other boys, plan and schedule,” Callarman said.
Felicia Short added that the scouts have boards of review for every rank, which are like job interviews where they sit across from members of the Scout committee and answer questions. She said this can help when they head into the workforce.
Callarman said he’s hoping that today’s ceremony will spur some of the other scouts to move toward Eagle.
“If everything goes like it should this year, we should probably have five,” Callarman said.