Only about three in 100 young men obtain Eagle Scout status after joining the Boy Scouts, according to assistant Scout Master Ron Burnell, of Upper Township Boy Scout Troop 79.

However, "Upper Township turns out a huge amount of Eagle Scouts just relative to other communities," said Bob Kane, whose son will soon be accorded Eagle status.

Burnell said that the troop has now probably decorated about 59 Eagle Scouts.

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On Feb. 6, two young men, Andrew Burnell, 18, and Andrew Giordano, 18, both of Upper Township, ascended to the rank of Eagle in a Court of Honor at the Seaville United Methodist Church.

Two weeks ago Alex Schoedler, 18, of Upper Township received his Eagle rank, while Jack Kane, 18, of Upper Township, will receive his March 15.

In order to reach the rank of Eagle, each of the young men had to proceed through the five ranks that precede Eagle, earn a total of 21 merit badges, serve actively as a leader in a role pertaining to their Troop, plan a community service project and, finally, successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.

Schoedler obtained his Eagle rank, Burnell said, after building a new shot-put and discus practicing area at the Upper Township Middle School for his Eagle Scout project.

Schoedler's project was a typical Eagle Scout service project in that it required extensive planning, created an opportunity for leadership and benefited a school in the community. These are requirements for a project as given by the Boy Scouts of America.

"I was honored when (Schoedler) talked about doing his project here,"said Teresa Gaeckle, the track and field coach and physical education teacher at Upper Township Middle School.

Formerly, there was no practice area for shot put and discus at the middle school. Gaeckle said that mostly the only throwing experience athletes got was at official track meets.

"We are so pleased," Gaeckle said. "First of all, (Schoedler) was one of our own athletes, and it's nice that he remembers how important that is and that the kids coming up need a safe environment to practice here."

The two young men who were honored recently completed similar projects. Burnell, completed a dog agility course in Upper Township that includes four apparatuses: a hoop, a balance beam, an A-frame and a resting table, while Giordano built three osprey nests near the ramp at Beesleys Point, which Ron Burnell said probably will last about 20 years.

Kane designed and planted a landscaping project at the Upper Township Primary School.

All Eagle Scout projects have to be approved and funded by the Scouts. Typically, the Scouts fundraise to finance their projects. To successfully complete an Eagle Scout project and the simultaneous steps to obtain the rank of Eagle is a huge feat.

"These boys start as early as Tiger Cubs (at age 7), and have to do almost 1,100 steps to get to Eagle," Burnell said.

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