When it comes to Scouting, Hayden Crane is both one of an elite group and the last of his kind.
The Sequim High senior earned his Eagle Scout standing late last year as the latest and last Eagle from Troop 1492, just before the troop was dissolved into Troop 90 in January.
“Our troop’s always tried to focus on (being) an adventure troop,” Crane says.
Looking over a sash filled with nearly 80 merit badges, Crane is now less than six weeks from graduating and heading off to college, where new adventures await.
Scouting got in Crane’s blood early: He joined the Cub Scouts when he was about 6 years old in Newark, Calif., just north of San Jose. Not long after, the family moved to Sequim and he decided to keep on Scouting.
“It was a good way to meet kids in a new community,” he says.
Crane found friends and a kind of new family with Sequim’s Troop 1492, an active group that saw Scouts take part in sojourns such as 50-mile hikes and summits (or near-summits) of Mount Rainier and Mount Adams.
The Sequim youth said his Scoutmaster Michael Cobb was a big influence.
“For most Scouts that’s a given, (but) he’s pretty much like a second dad,” Crane says.
Along the way Crane began racking up merit badge upon merit badge — 79 by his count — while balancing academics and multiple other after-school activities, including holding student class offices and running for the SHS cross country squad.
Some merit badges took as little time to earn as 20 minutes while others, like personal finance, took six months.
While he admits he can’t recall what each badge is on sight, Crane notes, “I learned (at least) a little thing out of all these merit badges.”
Crane, who is looking at studying hardware engineering (building computer parts, for example) next fall at Washington State University, also earned the Order of the Arrow, an elite honor bestowing recognition on Scouts selected by their peers as best exemplifying the ideals of Scouting.
“It’s kind of like our own family,” Crane says.
Earning the Eagle
Earning an Eagle Scout rank is much more than a project, Scout leaders note. Youths must complete a series of six ranks — Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life — before the Eagle Scout work begins. The ranks of Scout through First Class total 144 requirements alone, with subjects covered including personal fitness, first aid, outdoorsmanship, citizenship and more.
Advancing from First Class to Life includes at least 16 months of time-in-rank requirements.
Eagle Scout hopefuls must hold key leadership positions in the troop and must earn a variety of both required and elective merit badges along with completing Scoutmaster-approved service hours.
Projects range from 50-500 hours in length and require prospects to plan, develop and lead others in the service project.
Only between 1-4 percent of all Scouts earn their Eagle Rank, Cobb notes.
When it came time to advance to Eagle Scout status, Crane needed to look no further than his school. After seeing several school bond proposals fail, the Sequim youth took on relatively small but manageable projects across the campus, from reconstruction of a school campus map with a rotting wood frame to landscaping to painting curbs and speed bumps.
“I was just looking around, seeing all these things (the school) needed for about a year,” Crane says.
He started the project between his sophomore and junior school years and, despite some delays, finished 12 months later, and was awarded his Eagle Scout honors in December.
At Crane’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor, Cobb noted some things that impressed the Scoutmaster about his young charge.
“I have had the pleasure of seeing him as a Cub Scout, a Boy Scout, a middle school student, the president of his middle school student body, a high school student, his class vice president, a four-year letterman on the cross country team, multiple terms as the senior patrol leader of his troop, and in so many other roles and situations that tested and proved his mettle,” Cobb said.
“We’ve been on between 70 and 80 outings together, including weekend campouts, summer camps and 50-plus milers. In addition we’ve been on countless merit badge clinics, daytrips, service projects, Eagle projects, bike rides, day hikes and something over 350 Scout meetings in those 10-plus years. I don’t remember a single one of those times that Hayden didn’t make me smile at least once …
“If there was work to do, Hayden was helping, if there was a group activity, Hayden was in the middle of it, if everyone was asked to be quiet, well, maybe he struggled with that one from time to time, but Hayden has always known how to get down to business when it was appropriate.
“As long as I’ve known Hayden I’ve been looking forward to the time he would earn his Eagle rank. I never doubted for a second that he would make it. I can sincerely say Hayden is one in a million.