Editor’s Note: This is part one in a three-part weekly series on the Eagle Scouts of Troop 1370.
Kyle Brendel, now 17, became the troop’s first Eagle Scout in 2008. Three years later two more in the troop—Augustus MacDonald and Lional Vidal— achieved the honor.
In order to become an Eagle Scout a Boy Scout must, in addition to many other things, obtain the rank of Life Scout, earn 21 merit badges, complete a service project and hold a leadership position within the organization.
Kyle said he’s been involved in Scouting since the first grade, when he joined Cub Scouts. He attributes his accomplishments within the organization to the support of his family. His sister is an active Girl Scout working on the Gold Award, commonly thought of as that organization’s equivalent of becoming an Eagle Scout. His dad, Kevin, is the Scoutmaster for Troop 1370.
“My biggest supporter has been my dad, but I’ve definitely had many other supporters,” Kyle said. Though he and his father are close, becoming an Eagle Scout was a chance for him to work independently, Kyle said.
“When I was going through the Boy Scout ranks, we definitely tried to have it where he wasn’t supporting me, so that I could keep my advancement integrity,” he said. “It’s an amazing program. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it,” he said. “The biggest benefits of being a Boy Scout is that it teaches you how to set goals and how to achieve those goals and how to be a better leader.”
Kyle said he likes that a Boy Scout can earn merits and advance at his own pace. In Cub Scouts it’s a lot more structured, he said. So far, he’s earned some 90 merit badges. The most merit badges one Scout can obtain is about 130.
Kyle's goal is to get 100 merit badges. Generally, a Scout can earn badges until he is 18, but Scouts like Kyle can continue to earn merits until 21, because he is part of the Order of the Arrow, an organization within the Boy Scouts.
Kyle said being a member of the Order, or an Arrowman, is a passion of his. A Scout is elected to the Order by his peers. The Eagle Scouts in Kyle's troop are also Arrowmen.
“When I got elected, I was very proud. The members of my troop saw what I was trying to do and respected that,” he said.
Kyle said Arrowmen are also required to undergo ordeals. For him and a group of others, their ordeal was a weekend of no talking, eating scant food and sleeping under the stars, he said. “The main purpose of the ordeal was self denial,” he said.
Kyle was elected to a year-long term as the vice chief of the Bull Run Chapter of the Order of the Arrow. The Bull Run Chapter includes western Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.
While serving as vice president, Kyle was the Virginia South Lodge Area vice chief—a position that’s in charge of four chapters.
The name of the lodge is Amangamek-Wipit, which means, “large fish tooth” in Lenni-Lenape, the Native American language from which all Order of the Arrow terms are borrowed.
Kyle also volunteered to be a contingent leader for the national Order of the Arrow Conference at Michigan State University this summer.
He’s excited about this gathering of thousands of Arrowmen like himself, but realizes that it will be a challenge, as he will return from the conference the first week in August and just before he will leave for college.
He is accepted to all of the schools he applied for and is currently honing in on a final decision, Kyle said.
Juggling his studies and Scouting is not new to Kyle. He joined the Manassas Park High School Beta Club as a sophomore and the National Honor Society as a junior. He was later selected to be the senior vice president of the society.
He plays the tenor and the alto saxophone in the Manassas Park High Marching Band, in which he is a section leader. Kyle said he plans on remaining active in Boy Scouts even in college, where he plans to study engineering or business management.