Fifteen-year-old Liam Daughtery joined the Boy Scouts of America program when he was 6 years old. Last week, the Conway teen officially achieved an Eagle Scout rank.
Daughtery, who will be a sophomore at Conway High School in the fall, said he is proud of this accomplishment and that he encourages everyone to set goals and work hard to achieve those goals.
The Conway teen was in the first grade when he joined the Boy Scouts of America program. He put in more than 40 hours of work to replace and refurbish the picnic tables at Carolyn Lewis Elementary School on top of the many other merit badges he was required to earn to become an Eagle Scout.
“This has taken nine years to finally reach the goal of Eagle Scout rank. It has affected my life heavily as I have had many different feelings throughout the experience, like stress and happiness and sadness,” Daughtery told the Log Cabin Democrat.
Fulfilling each task on his mission to become an Eagle Scout provided Daughtery with new life skills all along the way, he said.
“I was able to receive leadership training and experience. You have to learn organization skills to complete everything needed. I have also learned a number of skills that I will use in the future,” the Conway teen said. “I look forward to [continuing] to teach younger scouts in our troop and community these skills, as well as my children one day.”
Daughtery is one of seven teens to earn an Eagle Scout rank in the Quapaw Area Council during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Jessica Henry Spayde, Quapaw Area Council registrar, said. The Quapaw Area Council is a part of the Foothills District, which includes Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Perry and Van Buren counties.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a long process. The Boy Scouts of America program extended the deadline to meet requirements for several 18-year-old members who were close to reaching their goals when the pandemic made it difficult to complete their requirements on time.
After being a Life Scout for six months, those seeking an Eagle Scout rank must earn 21 merit badges. Scouts must also create a service project to benefit another organization and/or the community to move up in rank. Daughtery decided to tackle a project that would benefit the Conway Public Schools District.
“My project was to replace the tables and seats of the picnic tables at Carolyn Lewis Elementary. It took a total of 44 hours,” the 15-year-old Troop 392 member said, adding that one must be active in a troop for at least six months before completing their project and going before an Eagle board of review.
Though it was a difficult project, Daughtery said the end result was well worth the long hours spent to tackle the project.
It was a rewarding process, he said.
“[It] took a lot of work, but you have to learn how to have fun with that work. That is what makes it a journey,” the Conway teen said. “It’s not about the thing you obtain at the end, but it’s the journey that you remember most. [It’s] the stories and people and many other things that you remember about the journey more than the end of it.”
Carolyn Lewis administrators said they were grateful Daughtery took on a project that would benefit the entire school.
“We were so thankful for the Eagle Scout to select Carolyn Lewis for his service project,” Carolyn Lewis Principal Stacy DeFoor said. “The picnic tables will benefit all of our students during their outdoor garden and science lessons. Our after school Sprout Scouts Club will also utilize them during their after schools activities and garden work days. We are truly blessed by this community service project.”
The Conway teen’s parents said they were proud of Daughtery for continuing to work toward his goal and finding ways to reach the finishing requirements in the midst of a global pandemic.
“We are so very proud of Liam for setting the goal to earn Eagle rank and admire his drive to complete it during the pandemic,” his mother, Nicole Harris, told the Log Cabin. “I hope that other kids in his troop and our community see that you can continue and finish your goals, even with obstacles in your way. You just have to figure out a way around them.
“It was an absolute joy to be able to watch him and his troop give back to Carolyn Lewis with his project. Both Liam and his brother went to CLES and I love that Liam has left a lasting mark there, even many years later.”
Daughtery said he wants to encourage others to also “keep striving to complete your goals.”