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Ryan becomes third-generation Eagle Scout

Of all the young boys across the nation who join the Scouts, only about 3 percent stick with it and become an Eagle Scout. Pequot Lakes High School senior Del Ryan did just that during his Court of Honor ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 17, just like h...

Nisswa resident Del Ryan, 18, was awarded his Eagle Scout badge on Saturday, Jan. 17. He represents the third generation of his family to obtain Eagle Scout status.Photo by Dan Determan
Nisswa resident Del Ryan, 18, was awarded his Eagle Scout badge on Saturday, Jan. 17. He represents the third generation of his family to obtain Eagle Scout status. Photo by Dan Determan

Of all the young boys across the nation who join the Scouts, only about 3 percent stick with it and become an Eagle Scout.

Pequot Lakes High School senior Del Ryan did just that during his Court of Honor ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 17, just like his father, John, and grandfather, Thomas, before him.

"I haven't heard of that many families that have three generations of Eagle Scouts," Del said. "That is kind of cool to me."

The 18-year-old Nisswa resident has been a Scout since he was a first-grader. He has stayed active because he enjoys the outdoor activities as well as the life lessons Scouts learn.

John had been helping as a scoutmaster for much of that time and knows first-hand what it takes to become an Eagle Scout, the highest award available to Scouts.

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"There is a lot of hard work, dedication and time that goes into it, especially when that time is happening during your teenage years where other things are pulling you from side to side," John said. "For a student to have the drive to do this now is something that doesn't normally happen."

To obtain Eagle Scout status, Del had to earn a large number of merit badges, as well as take the lead on a special service project. His project was to clear a trail to the Pequot Lakes fire tower.

"I had to work pretty hard to get here, as has everyone that has gotten to this point," Del said. "It means a lot, and it is a huge accomplishment. There are a lot of colleges and jobs that will look at two people with the same qualifications, but one is an Eagle Scout. With the work that person put in, they are going to pick that one. It shows the kind of person you are."

Working toward Eagle Scout status also teaches Scouts leadership skills, a trait not found in most people today, according to John. He taught his son the lesson that "leadership is not knowing how to do everything. Leadership is knowing how to get everything done."

Thomas passed away in 1992. As part of Del's Court of Honor ceremony, his grandfather's Eagle badge was pinned on his chest by his grandmother, Audrey, who is a former Cub Scout den mother.

"That means a lot to me," Del said. "She is the only grandparent I have ever really had. The fact that she shares an interest in Scouting is very cool to me. I actually feel honored that she presented it to me."

According to Del's father, to have his son become the third generation Ryan to become an Eagle Scout is a tremendously rewarding feeling.

"I think every parent wonders if they are doing the right thing (with their children)," John said. "Let's face it, there are days where you wondering whose kid this is, and there are days when they do something really cool. You always wonder if the things you are doing are going to work out. To see his Scouting career culminate with this lets me say to myself, 'OK, he gets it.' I am very proud of him, and I know his grandfather is, too."

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Since he is 18, Del is now serving the Scouts as an assistant scoutmaster, which allows him to show leadership qualities.

In July, he will attend basic training for the National Guard in Georgia, and then take part in the Guard's advanced individual training until February. After that, he intends to come home and work full time until the fall of 2016, when he plans to attend Bemidji State University to pursue a career in law enforcement.

He does, however, hope to continue aiding the Scouts as an adult.

"A lot of people think that the Scouts is kind of a silly thing," Del said. "People think that Scouts are a bunch of nerds - and to a certain extent, I would say I am - but there are people in the Scouts that you wouldn't believe. It is a lot of fun, so don't knock it until you've tried it."

Related Topics: PEQUOT LAKESNISSWA
Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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Guest of honor was retiring Scoutmaster Denton Newman Jr.