by Nan Royce
HOWARD LAKE When Howard Lake’s Nathan Pidde was a youngster, he saw an Eagle Scout one Sunday at church. That was all it took.
Pidde, the son of Alan and Kelli Pidde said, “I thought, ‘I want that.’ Absolutely no hesitation.”
Pidde quickly became a member of the local Cub Scout troop. Next, he became a member of Boy Scout Troop 399 in the spring of his fifth grade year. (The Troop is sponsored by the Winsted American Legion.) Through his entire school career, his desire to be an Eagle Scout never wavered.
“It is a life long dream,” he said. “It’s a high honor. My whole Scouting career has been a blast.”
He was quick to acknowledge that he has always had a huge support system in his family. He said his father serves as a Boy Scout committee chair. “That means he does paperwork and makes sure we have fun,” Pidde said.
He also shared that his mother volunteers as an advancement chair. “She keeps track of all the merit badges and anything else a Scout can earn,” Pidde said.
Alan said he and Kelli always set standards, and tried to prepare Pidde as best they could. “We know the benefits of Scouting,” he said. “Regardless of what Nathan does, we are very proud of him. He has risen to the challenge.”
A few of his favorite things
Pidde rattled off a lengthy list of favorite Scouting activities. Generally, he said, he just loves to be outside. He said shooting sports were a real favorite, because Scouts got to try a variety of different guns, throwing stars, and crossbows.
“The kick-back on that black powder rifle was ludicrous,” he laughed.
Pidde also enjoyed rock climbing, and learned how to rappel and belay.
(Rappeling is the sport of using ropes to descend a steep cliff face in a series of hops or jumps.
Belaying refers to a variety of techniques climbers use to hold tension on a climbing rope so that a climber cannot fall very far.)
Swimming and hiking also made Pidde’s list. In particular, he remembers the challenge of completing the requirements to earn his hiking badge.
Scouts must hike a total of 70 miles. Typically Scouts complete five 10-mile hikes, and then one 20-mile hike.
The day of Pidde’s 20-mile hike was blazing hot, and took eight to 10 hours. “If you think you can, you can,” he said.
Pidde has attended scores of Scouting camps, and can tell many tales about those adventures.
Some of his best memories were made the evening he taught three younger Scouts how to build a shelter so they could all sleep outside in 20-degree-below-zero weather.
“I just used a little authoritarian leadership,” he said.
Pidde officially learned how to manage people by completing National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). That status requires a six-day training course, which the Boy Scouts of America website says “integrates the best of modern leadership theory with the traditional strengths of the Scouting experience.”
Pidde uses the EDGE method he learned to be an effective guide. EDGE stands for educate, demonstrate, guide, and enable.
Starting to soar
It didn’t take Pidde a long time to think of a service project, a requirement to earning Eagle Scout status. He noticed something that needed fixing at his school, and took action.
Pidde plays the trumpet and the baritone in the school band, and discovered the pep band music library was in rough shape.
“The boxes were falling apart,” he said. “It was really bad and unorganized. So, I asked my band teacher, Mrs (Stephanie) Dailey if she’d mind if I created some good, solid wood boxes.”
After receiving her approval, Pidde got to work. He used his people skills to manage approximately a dozen helpers through the music box construction process.
After the sawdust settled, Pidde had eight solid wood boxes, fully stained and sealed, with nameplates attached.
He said he turned the boxes over to Mrs. Dailey, and she took it from there. “The boxes work really nice,” he said. “They work much better.”
He said the completion of his service project was a giant weight off of his shoulders. At that point, he just had to submit the required paperwork, and “pray to the Lord they were accepted.”
They were. On Aug. 7, Pidde learned the Board of Review had approved him for Eagle Scout status.
Making it official
Pidde’s Eagle Court of Honor took place Oct. 14. He said it was a very emotional day. During the court ceremony, Pidde was encouraged to review his trail to becoming an Eagle Scout, to look back at all the ranks and badges it took to get him to that day.
“I earned my life goal,” he said. “What more could I ask for?”
Pidde indicated he has full intentions of paying it forward. He said he will encourage young boys to try Scouting, and to learn first-hand how much fun it is. Pidde said getting fresh Scouts to camp is the way to go. “If you can get the kid to camp, they’ll stay in Scouting,” he said.
Pidde said after high school graduation next spring, he intends to work right away, and explore post-secondary school options.
He foresees himself earning a degree in math or computer science, and then working as an information technology expert.
Eventually, he would love to work for a beta video game testing company, working the bugs out of various gaming characters.
He feels his Eagle Scout status and his leadership training will look superb on his resumé.
Pidde noted the Eagle rank is the highest award which can be earned in Scouting. Fewer than 5 percent of Scouts nationwide attain it.
Always a Scout
Pidde has no intention of abandoning Scouting just because he’s earned the program’s highest honor. After a Scout turns 18, he may become a College Reserve Scouter while attending college, going on a mission, or going into military service
A College Reserve Scouter may stay registered in his troop, which Pidde would like to do. After all, there are additional leadership roles waiting for him there.
“There are three Scouts working on their own Eagle awards right now,” he said.