Family has proud tradition with Boy Scouts
Pictured is Brannon Beaton with his family members. From left: Walker Delk (stepbrother), Jordan Delk (stepbrother), Ryan Beaton (brother), Gigi Delk (mother), Jason Beaton (brother), Evan Beaton (brother) and Brannon Beaton.
For one East Texas family, Boy Scouting is about more than its lessons of leadership and character. It's about a tradition of excellence.
Brannon Beaton is the fifth brother to attain his Eagle Scout Rank, following in the footsteps of Jason Beaton, who attained his Eagle Rank in 2001; Ryan Beaton, 2003; Evan Beaton, 2007; and Jordan Delk, 2009.
To achieve the rank, Boy Scouts must complete more than 20 merit badges; plan, develop and lead a service project; and complete an Eagle Scout board of review, among other things, according to the Boy Scouts website. According to an article written by Brannon's mother, Gigi Delk, the men have contributed more than 1,000 hours of community service to East Texas nonprofits.
Brannon, 18, passed his board of review on Aug. 15 and was recognized Aug. 25 during an Eagle Scout ceremony, which all of his brothers attended. His two stepbrothers, Walker Delk and Jordan Delk, were also in attendance.
"It was fun to have all his brothers (there). All his brothers put his neckerchief on," Mrs. Delk said, adding that Ryan Beaton is in the U.S. Navy, and his ship captain, an Eagle Scout, allowed him to come to Texas for the ceremony.
Brannon called the day "hectic" but said he's pleased his brothers were able to be there.
"It was just good seeing them," he said. "The fact that we're all Eagle Scouts now is such a heart-warming experience for me."
But the journey has been a long one filled with hard work and commitment.
Brannon began Scouting in 2001 as a Tiger Cub with Pack 359 in Whitehouse. According to his mother's article, he collected Pinewood Derby Trophies, earned an Arrow of Light award in 2006 and advanced to become a Boy Scout with Troop 359. Throughout his time in Boy Scouts, he served in many capacities, including librarian, troop guide and instructor, the article states. He completed all of this while balancing sports, school, band and other community activities.
Brannon, who is a dual-credit student at Tyler Junior College and will graduate from Whitehouse High School in the spring, said his band director is a big supporter of Scouting and let him take off band practice to pursue his Eagle Rank.
His director is also supportive of his football career and allowed him to attend practice and come late to band, he said. Brannon is working toward a football scholarship and would like to attend Texas A&M University to study engineering.
Brannon's brothers also were involved in sports.
"People think, 'Oh, you can't do both,' (but) they do blend well," Mrs. Delk said.
Brannon said he's learned a lot through his years in Scouting.
"You start out as this immature little kid, very ignorant about what's going on around him, and then as you go through, you start learning new things (and) new skills," he said. "The big thing is leadership. That's what Scouting does for you. You become a better leader."
Brannon said Scouting also builds speaking ability and study skills because Scouts have to pass boards of review as they advance.
"It prepares you for college because I am going to have to talk to professors and express ideas to other people," he said.
Brannon said his Eagle project, which benefitted the Smith County Historical Society, specifically taught him how to lead others. The project involved the removal and salvage of protective fencing at Camp Ford, a former prisoner of war camp, Mrs. Delk said.
According to her article, Brannon researched the camp, planned the construction schedule and worked with more than 25 volunteers on the fence construction. The project planning began last fall, and construction came to fruition this summer. Workers logged 230 man hours during construction.
Brannon said he thought Camp Ford would be a great place to do his project because it played a big part in his Scouting experience. It's where Scouts do ceremonies to advance.
Brannon said people who want to go into Scouting should "absolutely do it" because they can't do anything better with their time.
For him, he said his biggest role models were his brothers, and he saw what they were able to do.
He said the fact he did a lot of activities while he was in Scouting also gave him a place to find friends and kept him away from bad things he could get into.
Like her son, Mrs. Delk said she, too is glad she's been involved in Scouting over the years, and always has admired the organization.
"I always thought boy Scouting was the coolest activity. They did woodworking. They did leatherworking. They learned how to change oil in cars," she said.
She said it also was a way for her to bond with her sons when they were growing up.
Mrs. Delk served as a den leader and encourages other parents to do so because it's a wonderful opportunity to guarantee they get to spend an evening a week with their son.
Although the brothers didn't go through Scouts in the same group, they also were involved with each other's journey. Evan Beaton served as Brannon's den chief at one time.
"Several brothers got the chance to be den chief and work with younger Cub Scouts. They had a lot of respect for how difficult it was to lead kids (afterward)," Mrs. Delk said. They helped each other with their service projects as well.
Mrs. Delk said her grandson is 3 years old, and the family is already counting the years until he gets into Scouting.