Brandon Kibler becomes Eagle Scout

LOCK HAVEN -The Boy Scouts of America have been around for over a century, but they have by no means become dormant – BSA, to this day, is still one of the strongest guided hands that helps shape and develop youth to be the future leaders of America.

And we’ve got a local Scout who fits the description of an upstanding person like a glove.

Brandon Kibler, 16, of Central Mountain High School, recently became an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million young men, according to BSA’s website.

Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service and leadership.

Brandon’s done it all – but it’s taken some serious dedication to do so.

“I’ve been in Scouts since I was in first grade,” Brandon said, and he has been working his way towards the Eagle Scout rank since.

Lock Haven resident Dave McGinniss started Troop 46 (Brandon’s troop) and has been Scoutmaster for 29 years.

He’s known Brandon for about 10 of them.

“He’s the kind of kid that just does it all,” McGinniss said.

Brandon first joined Scouting as a Cub in Pack 30 when he was 6 years old.

As a Cub, Brandon earned the Parvuli Dei Catholic Emblem and the Arrow of Light.

He joined Troop 46 in 2008 and became a Tenderfoot, and earned his Second Class Rank in 2009, advancing to First Class Rank shortly after.

Later, he advanced to Star Scout in 2010 and attained Life Scout, and later became an Ordeal Member in the Order of the Arrow, which is the National Society of Honor Scout Campers.

A study conducted by Baylor University, “Merit Beyond the Badges,” found that Eagle Scouts are more likely than those who have never been in Scouts to have stronger planning and preparation skills, be more goal-oriented, be able to network well with others, be a leader at their workplace or in their community and have close relationships with loved ones.

Brandon has a checkmark next to all of the above.

He also seems to have formed a bond with McGinniss throughout his Scouting career.

McGinniss has recently retired from his Scoutmaster position, after 29 years of service. Brandon was his 16th and last Eagle Scout to go through.

“It’s like he waited for me so that I could be the last one he had before retiring,” Brandon said proudly.

Brandon even upped the date on his Eagle project, in which he would have to perform some act of community service, so that he could get his Eagle rank while McGinniss was his Scoutmaster.

Back in November, Brandon helped to remodel one of the rooms at the YMCA; he put in new high efficiency lights, repainted and lowered the ceilings to make the room more heat efficient, and did repairs.

McGinniss isn’t surprised about Brandon’s productivity.

“He and his family are very active – and Brandon’s into everything,” McGinniss said. “He loves kayaking, Scouting, anything sports – I know he’s gotten a deer every year he’s hunted.”

The respect is mutual between the Kiblers and McGinniss.

“Dave is really committed to the scouts and has done a lot for these young men over the years,” Brandon’s father, Keith Kibler, said appreciatively.

Now that Brandon has gone above and beyond in earning his rank as an Eagle Scout, his mentor and Scoutmaster feels he is now able to take a backseat and spend more time with his grandchildren.

And though this phase of their lives are over, the teachings of the BSA will carry with Kibler the rest of his life.

As Robert Gates, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency once said, “American leadership is vital to peace and prosperity and the advancement of democracy in the world, and that requires having strong leaders.

“And I don’t think there’s any organization in the world, certainly not in the United States, that better prepares young men for leadership in this country than the Boy Scouts of America – in teaching leadership skills, in teaching values, in teaching importance of standing up for what’s right.”

In the case of Brandon Kibler, the teachings have been well absorbed and reciprocated through his Eagle Scout project.