Climbing to the rarified air of Eagle Scout provided two Broomfield teens the type of unique education they could not have gotten from a typical classroom, they said this month.
“Working to become an Eagle Scout gave me the edge in developing good leadership skills,” 18-year-old Luke Biller said. “Seeing that on my resume really allowed me to stand out from others of my same age. My accomplishments speak for themselves.”
Biller, a standout on the Legacy High School football team, leaves later this summer for the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
Legacy classmate Gavin Slatter also achieved Eagle Scout status and will enter classes this fall at the University of Idaho to study architecture. Slatter, 19, is a prominent member of Legacy’s cross-country and track team.
His adventures while working toward Eagle Scout status provided him invaluable experiences not many his age enjoy, he said.
“You appreciate having scouting in your life,” Slatter said. “You meet and form relationships with people and do things you probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. It’s a lot better than sitting home on the couch.”
Biller and Slatter are members of Broomfield Troop 337 of the Boy Scouts of America. And both earned merit badges and worked through the ranks to reach the elite rank of Eagle Scout, the most advanced rank in Scouting, according to the Boy Scouts of America website.
A Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills to earn the Eagle Scout designation. A number of specific skills are required to advance through ranks — Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. To advance, a Boy Scout must meet specific requirements ranging from tenure in a unit and leadership positions to the earning of merit badges, the BSA website states.
As many as 2.25 million Boy Scouts have earned the Eagle Scout rank since 1912. Biller and Slatter join several notable Americans as fellow Eagle Scouts including Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice and film director Steven Spielberg.
Slatter was influenced to go into Scouting by his dad, Gerrit, also an Eagle Scout. Slater also saw his brother go on camping trips and other outings as a Scout. “I wanted to see what it was like so I said ‘Ok’ I’ll do it,’” he said.
Scouting, Slatter said, soon sparked qualities he may not have developed otherwise. “You see growth and you realize you are capable of great things,” he said.
He became the Troop’s quartermaster, and made sure each Scout had the equipment they needed for each adventure. Along the way he went on a 60-mile canoe trip in Canada, and a 50-mile backpacking trip in New Mexico, he said.
He also ignored classmates who loudly hinted that Scouting was not a cool way to spend his high school years.
“There are always people like that, but they are the ones who missed out on great adventures,” Slatter said.
To earn his Eagle Scout designation, he marshaled a group of Scout volunteers and the Broomfield City and County Parks Department in August 2020 to build a 60-foot set of steps at the disc golf course at Interlocken East Park.
Biller started Scouting at 15 influenced mostly by his grandfather who was an Eagle Scout. His cousin Pete Biller, another Eagle Scout, also got him hooked.
“It was just the life of being outdoors that excited me,” Biller said. “Camping, fishing, hunting … I kind of got obsessed with becoming an Eagle Scout.”
Biller split time playing football in the fall and then plowing ahead on his Eagle Scout path in the spring and summer, he said.
He did service work cleaning around campsites and volunteering with Broomfield FISH, which helps low-income families with food and transportation needs.
Biller built six predator-proof kestrel boxes for nesting birds at the Adams County Fairgrounds for his Eagle Scout project. He also assembled volunteers to help in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biller has learned to ignore comments that Scouting is not how high school kids should spend their time.
“Most people are not aware of what we do and the projects we take on and how it teaches dedication to service,” Biller said. “I know what Scouting has done for me and I appreciate what it has taught me.”