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McLeod Prepares to Join Eagle Scouts

Helping Homeless is Focus of Service Project

By Sylvia Dunnavant Hines

Eagle Scout

As an Eagle Scout, Thompson Mcleod will join the 2% of African American males in the scouting program to achieve this distinguished honor.

Preparation, persistence, and perseverance are all attributes that are leading African American boys to join the elite group of Eagle Scouts.

“Only about two percent of the boys who become Boy Scouts reach the level of being an Eagle Scout. For African American boys that number is much lower,” said Dr. Torrance Earle, former Scoutmaster for Wheeler Ave Troop 242 in Houston, which historically holds the record of having the most African Americans to reach Eagle Scout in the country.

“I think reaching the level of being an Eagle Scout is awesome. I am an Eagle Scout myself,” said Samuel Sarpong, who now serves as a Scout-master, and was mentored in the Wheeler Ave. Troop 242. “I believe that scouting teaches you a lot about being a young man and being a good citizen of society. It teaches you to be able to survive different things that come up in life. To reach the level of an Eagle Scout a service project is required,” he explained. “I am currently working with Boy Scout Thompson B. McLeod to reach that level. He did a good job researching what he wanted to do for his final project.”

An 11th grader at The Winston School, a private coeducational day school in Dallas, McLeod selected a community service project to help the homeless where he is collecting new socks and gently-used men, women and children’s shoes. He also set up an Amazon donation page and arranged for a local drop-off at his school to collect his donations.

“I came up with the idea for my final project after watching a documentary on the rising rate of homeless in America. I realized that most homeless people keep the same shoes for years. I wanted to help them out by providing them with new or gently used shoes. It has been my desire to help make their lives a little easier,” said McLeod.

Active in basketball, tennis, golf and soccer; the scholar athlete plans to either attend West Point or enter an HBCU ROTC program and he has the full support of his parents, Dr. Lisa K. Thompson McLeod and Rev. Aaron J. McLeod, Esq.

Thompson Mcleod

Thompson Mcleod was mentored by Scoutmaster, Dr. Torrance Earle, a former Scoutmaster of Wheeler Ave Troop 242 in Houston. This troop historically holds the record of having the most African American boys to reach the high ranking of Eagle Scouts in the country. Photos: Sylvia Dunnavant Hines

RICH TRADITION  

The history of African American boys participating in the Boy Scouts extends back to the first “Negro Boy Scout Troop” in 1911, which was in Elizabeth City, NC.

Thompson Mcleod

Thompson Mcleod started out with Wheeler Ave Troop 242. This troop holds the distinction of producing more Eagle Scouts than any other troop in the United States.

According to recent statistics from Zippa, the most common ethnicity of Eagle Scouts is White (67.4%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (13.8%) and Black or African American (9.4%).

In 1919, Hamilton Bradley of New York became the first Black youth to become an Eagle Scout in the history of Boy Scouts of America (BOA).

“The scouting program is the only program in the country that touches on everything that any program is trying to accomplish. It covers leadership, it focuses on skills in various areas and expertise, and it focuses on life survivorship skills as well. Throughout the program boys are looking at over 100 plus merit badges that pertain to every facet of life,” said Dr. Earle.

Many promi-nent African American athletes and leaders have come through Scout programming, including Civil Rights leader – Martin Luther King, Jr., and former professional basketball Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan.

Emery Moorehead and Ernest Green also reached the status of Eagle Scouts. Moorehead was a wide receiver in the NFL for the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, and the Chicago Bears. In 1985 he played as a starting tight end for the Super Bowl for the Chicago Bears, who won the championship that year.

Green also made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, a name given to the first Black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.

The scouting experience is open to both boys and girls starting at the age of 11 and continuing until 18. Young people can participate in the Cub Scout program from the age of six. There are also mentoring opportunities available for adults as scoutmasters and scout leaders.

For more information about becoming a scout or to find a local troop please go to the BOA website www.scouting.org.

“My goal has always been about the scouting journey; it has never been about the destination. I have made so many lifelong friends over the years,” said McLeod.

As an Eagle Scout, McLeod will join over 2.5 million young people that have achieved this status in the history of the organization.

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