American student earns Eagle Scout award
Daniel Wartella presents an Eagle mentor pin to his brother, Joseph, who is a sophomore at UCLA on a Navy ROTC scholarship, for his assistance in helping Daniel obtain his Eagle Scouting award at the Kadena Officer's Club, Sept. 14. (Photo by: TJ Oba)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan - Fifty individuals gathered together in celebration of Daniel Wartella receiving the prestigious Eagle Scouting award at the Kadena Officer's Club, Sept. 14. The Eagle Scout award represents the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program. Since its inception in 1911 more than two million young men have earned this rank.

Obtaining this rank takes commitment and dedication beyond a young man's formative years.

Some posters advertise "scouting," as 90 percent "outing," a play on words by removing the prefix "sc." But, a big part of Scouting really is about being "out there" - camping. The boys learn Scout skills and leadership and camping is hand's on. To get elected into Scouting's elite, peer-honor society, "The Order of the Arrow," the Scout must have participated in 15 campouts. To qualify for the prestigious "camping" merit badge, the Scout must have participated in 20 campouts. For a troop to receive an "excellent" rating for its annual scouting program, the troop must have organized 10 different campouts over the course of the year.

Scheduling conflicts often don't allow a boy to participate in every event. Neither obtaining the merit badge, nor getting elected to the honor society happen quickly. They often require years of participation. Even participating in an annual District Summer Camp, provides only five days credit toward either requirement.

Daniel Wartella has over 110 days of camping, "under his belt," explained Stanley Strasinski, the advancement coordinator for Troop 102 and a member of the Eagle Review Board for the Okinawa District.

Most other boys don't even come close. That equates to almost four months camping, or a third of a year, being "out there."

That's hard to put into a perspective most of us can understand.

At just 16 years of age, Daniel has spent nearly a third of a year, camping, 24/7, with the Scouts. The other boys know Daniel as a "super" scout, added Strasinski.

Like with every goal in life, one must be patient and overcome obstacles and challenges.

Daniel began his journey as a Tiger Cub, some 11 years ago, and has worked hard to climb the ladder to this rank. His efforts included many miles of hiking with a heavy pack, many nights spent camping under the stars and rain clouds, giving up a lot of his nights and weekends mentoring other boys, and learning new skills for his 70-plus merit badges. The number of boys who begin the scouting journey that actually achieve the Eagle Scout rank is extremely small, but Daniel never waived from his path.

"He is a role model for my two sons, and for the other boys in the troop," said Harry Farmer, a member of the Boy Scout Council Executive Committee for the Far East.

Farmer has also served as a cub master for the Cub Scouts, the council commissioner for the Far East and was a Boy Scout as a child who aged out of the program before ever obtaining his Eagle.

For Wartella reaching this rank meant working with others to include his friends and family members.

"The Boy Scouts of America has created the Eagle Mentor pin as a way of honoring those whose efforts have assisted a Scout to reach the Eagle Scout rank. Normally, only one person is chosen as a mentor, but today I want to award mentor pins to four people who have given me a tremendous amount of support on my eagle trail. Joe, can you come stand next to me? The first pin I want to award is to my brother, Joe. Joe helped me so much all of my life, and is the best brother I could ever ask for. In scouting, he blazed a trail for me and others to follow. Joe made Eagle Scout over five years ago and has been a role model for me and many others. In fact, this is Joe's third mentor pin. Joe stayed with Boy Scouts through his 18th birthday and then, mostly because of me, he volunteered to be an Assistant Scoutmaster. Joe helped me with my leadership positions and even took me to see the wing chaplain to help me find an Eagle Project. Joe planned this court of honor and has done a great job as MC. Thanks bro, for being there when I needed you."

Along his brother Joe, Marty Roberts, Mr. Strasinski and Mr. Spangler were recipients of the Eagle Mentor Pin.

Page last updated Thu September 26th, 2013 at 00:00