Trio of Eagles - Tucson Local Media: Oro Valley

Trio of Eagles

Scouting’s top honor runs in the Standley family

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Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 6:00 am

Scott Standley didn’t have to look far for help while earning his Eagle Scout rank. Two Eagle Scouts already live in his Oro Valley home. His father, Bob, and brother, Rob, both have earned the Boy Scouts’ highest honor, giving the Standleys the unique distinction of having three Eagle Scouts in one household.

“I feel like I’ve accomplished something really big, and one reason is because my dad and older brother were involved,” said Scott.

The Standley legacy dates back to the 1960s, when Bob Standley was a young boy living in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Encouraged by his uncle, Donald Woodworth, who was himself a scoutmaster, Bob joined the Cub Scouts at age 9 to expand on his love of the outdoors. He advanced to the Boy Scouts two years later and immersed himself in camping, hiking and other outdoor adventures.

He started pursuing the Eagle Scout award when he was 16 because after that age, he joked, boys are “overcome by car fumes and perfumes.” His troop took a 50-mile, weeklong hike into Yosemite National Park. It brought him self-confidence and taught him perseverance, both of which he would later instill in his sons. He earned his Eagle Scout rank in 1975 at age 17.

One of the perfumes that later overcame Bob belonged to his future wife, Susan. They married and soon were raising two boys, Rob and Scott. The couple shared their love for the outdoors with their sons, so it seemed natural for Rob, then 11, to join the Webelos. It is a 20-month program for fourth and fifth grade boys to prepare to join a Boy Scout troop while learning outdoors skills and participating in 20 different activity badges.

Rob’s time as a Boy Scout enabled him to share an experience with his dad – a 50-mile, weeklong adventure. This time it was a canoe trip on the Colorado River between the Arizona communities of Bullhead City to Lake Havasu City.

As scouting evolved, so did its Eagle Scout requirements. By the time Rob decided to pursue his Eagle Scout rank, scouts were required to create and carry out an extensive community service project. He oversaw a project to repaint two United States maps and sports stripes on the campus of Copper Creek Elementary School in Oro Valley.

The experience of heading a team of 20 and soliciting donations of supplies from area businesses taught the normally quiet and reserved teenager to assert himself. Today, he applies that skill at the University of Arizona, where he is a sophomore studying chemical engineering.

“I feel much more confident,” he noted.

And so Scott, now 15, had two family members to help – and prod – him through the Eagle Scout process.

“Quitting is not an option,” said Bob. “Becoming an Eagle Scout is like eating an elephant. You eat it one bite at a time.”

Scott didn’t need too much prodding. At age 13, he committed himself to the two- to three-year process necessary to qualify.

“That’s an unusual commitment for a kid his age,” said Bob, now the assistant scoutmaster of Troop 270 at Pusch Ridge Christian Academy.

Scott drew on his experience as a junior docent for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to create his community service project. He teamed with fellow ASDM volunteer and Eagle Scout John Scheuring to pull buffelgrass in the Waterman Mountains.

Scott took on a significant leadership role, overseeing more than 170 hours of labor by close to 20 volunteers over the course of the project.

As a result, the 15-year-old was honored during the Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on Jan. 8, completing the Standleys’ triumvirate of Eagle Scouts.

But the family’s legacy is not all male. Susan Standley is a guiding force behind the men’s successes.

Susan, a former teacher and the merit badge counselor for Troop 270, is the family’s chief organizer, overseer, guidance counselor, prodder and laundress. She keeps the boys’ projects on track.

“I’m invested in my boys and the boys in the troop,” she noted, adding that she advises troop members on which of the Cub Scouts’ 100 or so topics to select to earn the 12 badges required to become an Eagle Scout.

Since its founding in 1910, Boy Scouts of American has become one of the largest youth organizations in the United States with more than 4.5 million youth members. Of those, only about 4 percent earn their Eagle Scout rank. Fortunately, three of them reside in the Standley household and make Oro Valley proud.

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