Yorkville High School grad becomes 118th Troop 40 Eagle Scout

  • Troop 40 Eagle Scout Kirkman Harding (center right in uniform) stands with his crew who helped complete 18 Bluebird boxes for his Eagle Scout Leadership Project at Sannauk Forest Preserve.

    Troop 40 Eagle Scout Kirkman Harding (center right in uniform) stands with his crew who helped complete 18 Bluebird boxes for his Eagle Scout Leadership Project at Sannauk Forest Preserve. Courtesy of BSA Troop 40 Yorkville

 
 
Updated 7/19/2022 12:00 PM

Yorkville teen Kirkman Harding not only recently earned high school diploma, but also attained Eagle Scout, the highest possible rank and honor in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). He is now the 118th Eagle Scout in the history of BSA Troop 40 Yorkville.

Harding began his Scouting journey with Yorkville Cub Scout Pack 350, joining as a Tiger Scout, advancing through the ranks of Wolf, Bear, Webelos, ultimately earning the Arrow of Light rank and award before crossing over into BSA Troop 40 Yorkville in 2015. He then subsequently earned the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life before successfully passing his Eagle Scout Board of Review on April 12, 2022.

 

Reaching the rank of Eagle Scout is a rigorous challenge that may be achieved by a youth prior to their 18th birthday after serving as a Life Scout for at least six months, earning a minimum of 21 merit badges (including the 13 required to earn Eagle Scout), demonstrating Scout Spirit and an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership within their unit. Harding earned a total of 29 merit badges, additionally netting him a Bronze Eagle Palm pin.

The capstone requirement in order to achieve the Eagle Scout rank is leading a service project helpful to any religious institution, school, or the local community. Through his Eagle Scout Leadership Project, Harding planned and managed the efforts of 30 Scouts and other volunteers who performed more than 300 hours of service to construct and install 18 wooden Bluebird houses at Sannauk Forest Preserve in Sandwich, benefiting the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District.

Plans and designs were developed with one of Harding's grandpas to have raw materials measured and cut for components of the Bluebird boxes. These components were then sorted into kits. On the day of the installation, kits were assembled by volunteers and the fully functional Bluebird boxes were then installed along hiking paths at Sannauk.

The purpose of this project was to assist in increasing the nesting and population of Bluebirds. This has a benefit for the ecosystem, as well as bird watchers and hikers alike. The chosen site holds particular significance for Harding to honor his other grandfather who was an adult Scout leader, and the camp site where Harding attended his first Troop 40 event as a Cub Scout. Sannauk also happened to be the place where he learned that his grandfather had passed away.

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"It was an honor to work with Kirk, his family, and troop on his Eagle Scout project," said Josh Clark, natural resource manager for the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, which includes Sannauk. "From beginning to end, the project was well thought out, organized, and executed. Congratulations and thank you Kirk!"

In addition to his Eagle Scout project, Harding also participated in many other service opportunities while with the Troop, including Fox Road Highway Cleanup, Memorial Day ceremonies in Town Square Park, fundraisers for Chapel on the Green, the location and host of the Troop's weekly meetings; and Flag Retirement Ceremonies at Yorkville American Legion Post 489, Troop 40's charter organization.

Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts nationally have earned the Eagle Scout rank. Harding is the 118th Scout to earn this prestigious award in Troop 40's history.

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About BSA Troop 40 Yorkville, IL

Troop 40 was organized and has been in continuous operation since the summer of 1914. The first Scoutmaster was Reverend Ernest Lee Ackiss, at the time a 26-year-old student of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and pastor of the Yorkville Baptist Church. The Troop met at the original Yorkville Congregational Church on Saturday afternoons. Today, Troop 40 has more than 30 active Scouts and meets every Monday evening during the school year, 6:30 - 8:00 pm at Chapel on the Green. For more information, visit www.yorkvilletroop40.org.

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