By Crystal Huskey of the Norris Bulletin
Norris Eagle Scout Michael Giles just completed his Eagle Project — two kiosks on the watershed trails.
“They’re supposed to hold maps of the trails so people don’t get quite as lost out there,” Giles explained. Giles was coming up on his 18th birthday when Troop 73 Scoutmaster Dennis Curtin approached him about the project. In partnership with the watershed board, the projects are the culmination of years of dedication for Giles.
An Eagle Project is intended to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of their community. The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts, and it cannot be performed for an individual or a business or be commercial in nature. Completing an Eagle Project is required to become an Eagle Scout.
While he wasn’t a Cub Scout (the precursor to Boy Scouts), Giles began his scouting journey while he was still in middle school.
“There was a gentle-man who came to Norris Middle and talked to all the boys,” Giles said. “He talked about rifle shooting, and I really wanted to go do that.”
Ironically, to this day, Giles still hasn’t shot a rifle with the Boy Scouts. Still, he stuck with the troop from the time he was in 6th grade.
“I enjoyed it thoroughly,” he said.
He eventually became troop guide, teaching all the new boys everything about Scouting. For Giles, the big trips he and the troop took are some of his best memories. He spent one of his birthdays on a biking trip to DC with the troop, where he was surprised when a troop leader rode into town to get him a birthday cake.
While the adventures are certainly memorable, it’s the people that keep popping up in conversation with Giles. He has
a tremendous amount of respect for the men who invested in him, as well as a deep affection for his fellow scouts.
“Mr. Curtin is an absolute role model for me,” Giles said. “I loved him from the minute I met him. He’s someone I want to be like. [Volunteer] Robert Spurling was one of the smartest people I know. He taught me a lot about planning. John Norman, my friend Eric Norman’s father, they were some of the first people I really talked to. To this day I know a bunch of knots he’s taught me. Ricky and Randy Williams, they help out as much as possible, and are so nice and talk to me all the time.”
He also credits his parents for his success as a scout, and is grateful for his time spent with the troop.
“It’s taught me so many life skills,” he said. “Before I was in Scouts, I would be scared and shaky speaking in front of people. Now that I’m in Scouts, and FFA, and troop guide for three years, I can get up and talk in front of anybody and not be scared. I’ve got a heart for talking to young kids, and I want to teach history. It’s shaped what I want to do in my life.”
Giles will attend Roane State this fall and study history.