At its core, the highest honor and rank of the Boy Scouts—Eagle Scout—is all about service. And Boy Scout Troop 252 Eagle Scout Taylan Yuasa earned the honor by aiding a Seattle-based ministry started with the help of a former Mercer Island pastor.
At a meeting Feb. 22, Taylan—an eighth-grader at Islander Middle School—was recognized for his volunteer efforts to benefit the community in achieving his Eagle Scout last December. Before Boy Scouts can earn the rank, they must complete a community service project that benefits the community.
"I don't think I've ever seen so many merit badges," said Mayor Jim Pearman— himself an Eagle Scout—as he recognized Taylan's achievement. "This is a special presentation tonight."
Taylan, a member of local Boy Scout Troop 252, said he was looking for a way to help those who most needed it to earn his Eagle Scout rank. He took inspiration from former Rev. Burdette "Bud" Palmberg, who was also seeking to help one of his flock one night in 1967 when he founded Operation Nightwatch in Seattle.
"We were very honored when Rev. Palmberg's wife (Donna), came by and thanked us for what we were doing," Taylan said.
The 14-year-old committed himself to help the Christian ministry dedicated to helping the poor and homeless by helping gather essential items needed to survive outside from various locations around Mercer Island.
Taylan set down a goal of achieving his Eagle on the centennial year of the Boy Scouts of America in 2010. He told the City Council that he organized 30 fellow scouts from troops 254, 457 and his own troop in November to gather the items around Mercer Island. With help from his parents, Mark Yuasa and Jeanne Chang, he and his fellow scouts put up posters and manned collection points at and for items such as scarves and warm clothing, toiletries and food. They gathered, tallied and donated 4,007 items to Operation Nightwatch by late December.
"One of the goals of the Eagle Project is to demonstrate leadership skills," Taylan said. "The goal was (originally) to collect 500 items."
Boys are permitted to join the Boy Scouts of America as young as 10, and must earn at least 21 merit badges before their 18th birthday to achieve the rank of Eagle.