Edwards Boy Scout earns Eagle rank | VailDaily.com

Edwards Boy Scout earns Eagle rank

Scott N. Miller
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyNick Gifford is the valley's latest Eagle Scout, a rank few scouts ever make.

EDWARDS – Nick Gifford wanted out of the Boy Scouts a couple of times, but it didn’t work out.Gifford was recently honored as the valley’s newest Eagle Scout. After achieving scouting’s highest honor, he wants to remain as involved in the group as he can., he saidIn the wake of his Eagle Scout project Gifford, a junior at Vail Christian High School, is now working to put together a panel of other Eagle Scouts in order to help those working on their own projects.”I want us to be able to help with ideas and labor when we need to,” Gifford said.Eagle Scout projects must involve some sort of community service and should bring in other people. Gifford’s project – organizing and cataloguing the library at the Vail Interfaith Chapel – did both. The project was the idea of Pastor Carl Walker of Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church. “The library was pretty disorganized,” Walker said. “No one had done anything with it in a quite a while. Nick interviewed people about what they wanted, and he did it.”Working with friends, family members and other scouts, Gifford put up shelves, got the books and other materials organized, then provided a database to all the groups that use the chapel.It was a lot of work, Gifford said, taking somewhere around 100 man-hours to complete. In the end, it all came together. Looking in the library now, Gifford said, the memory of the work is still fresh.”But I’m proud of how it turned out,” he said.

Aside from the work, though, the other big challenge in the library project was being in charge. Besides service, an Eagle Scout project is also supposed to develop leadership skills, something that isn’t entirely in Gifford’s nature.”Nick’s a quiet kid, always willing to help,” Walker said. “But he came through as a leader and getting others to help.”Almost outWhile completing his Eagle Scout project was a tough task, Gifford first had to move through the ranks to Life Scout. It almost didn’t happen.After starting the Cub Scouts program in elementary school, Gifford dropped out soon after. “I just didn’t like it,” he said. A year or so later, he re-joined, mostly because a lot of his friends were in Cub Scouts.Moving through Cub Scouts and Webelos, then into the Boy Scouts. Once he was wearing the green uniform of the Boy Scouts, Gifford started to have doubts about continuing. But he stayed in and eventually entered the Eagle Scout program.”My parents motivated me and the older scouts, too.” he said.

Looking at Gifford’s sash full of merit badges, it’s hard to imagine he ever had doubts. If they’re good, most scouts will earn 21 merit badges over the years. Gifford’s sash has 27, in subjects including first aid, snow sports and environmental science.”Environmental science was the toughest,” he said. “There was a lot of work outside of class.”Now that he’s reached the top of scouting’s ladder, Gifford wants to give back. The idea for the Eagle Scout council was Gifford’s, scoutmaster Brian Maloney said. And, he added, Gifford is the kind of scout who will continue to give back.”The Eagle Scout program is great,” Maloney said. “It develops leadership in scouts, a kind of servant heart that will benefit Nick down the road.”Famous Eagle ScoutsLloyd Bentson: Former U.S. SenatorBill Bradley: Former U.S. Senator, pro basketball playerJohn Koncak: Former pro basketball player

James Lovell: Former astronautSam Nunn: Former U.S. SenatorRichard Lugar: U.S. SenatorRoss Perot: Businessman, former presidential candidateGerald Ford: Former presidentRandy Wyrick: Reporter, self-proclaimed senate candidateStaff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or smiller@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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