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Eagle Scouts Fly High as Swimming Student-Athletes

Junior All-OAC swimmer Greg Shaw receives his Eagle Scout certificate.
Junior All-OAC swimmer Greg Shaw receives his Eagle Scout certificate.

By: Cannon Dees '20

BEREA, Ohio- The necessary skills, characteristics and mindset to be a Baldwin Wallace swimmer can be achieved many ways. For junior All-Ohio Athletic Conference swimmer Greg Shaw (Colorado Springs, Colo./Manitou Springs) and sophomores Conner Hartup (Westlake/Westlake) and Matthew Butt (Westfield Center/Cloverleaf), joining The Boy Scouts of America and staying dedicated all the way to the rank of Eagle Scout was their chosen path, and it shows in pool.

What It Takes

In order to become the highest rank available in the Boy Scouts of America, the Eagle Scout, one must advance through all other six ranks by completing different skills for merit badges. There are over 130 merit badges to be achieved in different categories such as sports, crafts, science, trades, business and different skills such as tying knots or cooking. While these badges are required to advance in the ranks, an Eagle Scout hopeful must create their own service project for their community in addition to attending other service projects. This is followed by a Scout Master conference and an Eagle Scout Board of Review to determine if the individual has earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Hartup created a service project in which he constructed "Designated on Deck Circles" for the young baseball players in his area. Six of these were constructed to help reduce injuries from flying bats and make sure kids warming up weren't in harm's way. Other service projects that Hartup attended involved painting and restoration on community property such as park shelters or building bookshelves.

When it was Shaw's time to develop a service project, he wanted to help make a difference for something he really cared about. This led to him building a fence around the local pool, a place where he spent much of his time and a place he could help impact future swimmers and even scouts.

Butt started a project that involved him making bible racks for his local church that held his troop's meetings. Creating the 70 bible racks included cutting, sanding and staining all the wood. "It sounds fairly simply, but with the quantity we were doing it was actually quite a lot of work" he said.

The Pay-Off

Shaw, Hartup and Butt all excelled not only in scouts, but in the pool as well. Boy Scouts helped give them the skills necessary to compete in NCAA Division III athletics.

Hartup attributes his problem-solving abilities and his hard work ethic to his time as a scout. "It also helped me to become a lifeguard and prepared me to save 10 lives while on duty" Hartup said. Hartup earned his first varsity letter as a freshman last season and is looking to earn his second this year. He is off to a strong start and has already set career-best times in eight events this season.  

Shaw credits the Boy Scouts for holding him accountable in any situation and to always finish what he started. "Becoming an Eagle Scout takes a long time and a lot of dedication and so does getting good at a sport" he said. His dedication is evident as Shaw is a three-time school record holder.  

"I would say scouting helped me be more of a leader since as you grow older more of the responsibilities of helping younger scouts is now on you" said Butt. Also earning a varsity letter as a freshman last year, Butt looks to repeat this year and has already set career-bests in two events this season.  

The Lasting Effects

Hartup's favorite memory from his time in Boy Scouts was finally reaching the rank of Eagle Scout after all of the time and effort that was put in. "Through all my experiences with scouts I learned how to work hard and not give up on my dreams. I will also take these experiences and try to continue to help as many people as I possibly can" he said.

For Shaw, it was canoeing through Minnesota for seven days, hiking in New Mexico for nearly two weeks and sailing from Marathon Key, Florida to Key West, Florida that has stuck in his memory. "I will always remember all the good memories and all the hard work I had to put in to reach the end goal.  I also learned a lot of life lessons from all my leaders who served in the military and brought that toughness into the scouts" Shaw said.

Butt recalls the time he hiked 50 miles in the upper peninsula of Michigan with his dad and closest friends in the Scouts. As it was a "high trip", the older scouts were only allowed to go on the trail with what they could carry on their backs. "It doesn't matter what you have or where you are, the thing that truly makes your memories special are the people you are with... I don't know if I'd remember the things I do from scouts if I didn't have the friends and family to back up those memories. They are what truly make a life and memories special to me" Butt said.

"I think Greg, Conner and Matt all came into BW already achieving a feat that takes many years and commitment to the 'plan' - having seen through the Eagle Scout process gave them the problem solving skills and commitment skills that are crucial to academic achievement," said Head Swimming and Diving Coach Laura Wolff. "In the water they are all incredibly hard workers and exceptionally 'good guys' to be around. They support their teammates and swim events for us that are considered to be some of the most challenging in the college event schedule."

While school and swimming are the priority of Hartup, Shaw and Butt right now, all three expressed interest in eventually returning to The Boy Scouts of America to help the next generation of scouts.