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Former Lakeland Students Excel In Scouts

Caolyn Snyder (L) and Alex Latham (R)

Two Lakeland youth in the Arlington High School class of 2023, have recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout. These students are Alex Latham from Troop 455 and Caolyn Snyder from Troop 455/8. Caolyn holds the distinction of being the first female scout from Lakeland to earn this rank. Additionally, she’s the first female in the district to earn it.

According to Wikipedia, “Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges. The Eagle Scout must demonstrate Scout Spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout.”

Caolyn attended Arlington Middle School in 6th grade and Lakeland Preparatory School (formerly Lakeland Middle Preparatory School) 7th – 8th grades.  Her project was building three senior-accessible flowerbeds for the Lakeland Senior Center. It’s a benefit to the Lakeland Gardening Club as they prepare for their spring/summer planting.

When asked how scouting has benefited her, Caolyn says, “Scouting has benefited me by giving me useful life skills, including leadership, teamwork skills, how to quickly problem solve, knowledge of the outdoors, and information on plenty of different topics and activities through merit badges.”  Her scouting achievements include Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow Brotherhood (which is Boy Scouts national honor society) and being elected Senior Patrol Leader of her troop (for two consecutive terms). She is also the first female Eagle Scout in Lakeland, and with the Thunderbird District.

We also wanted to know how long Caolyn has been involved in Scouts.  Here’s what she had to say: “I have always been involved in scouting in one way or another. I started my scouting journey in Girl Scouts as a kindergartener when I lived in Washington state and will soon be finishing my Girl Scout journey of 13 years in May after bridging to an adult. When I moved to Tennessee, and my brothers became of age, they were enrolled in Cub Scouts, and I would tag along to all their activities. This is what got me involved in Boy Scouts. Through this, I joined Scouts BSA in 2019 when girls were first permitted to join troops, where over four years I progressed to the rank of Eagle Scout. Additionally, I recently joined our council’s newly founded Sea Scout Ship.”

Following her recent graduation, Caolyn will be attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Caolyn’s project (L) and Alex’s project (R)

Alex Latham said his project consisted of building and installing benches around the new public playground at Oak Ridge Park in Lakeland (Heron’s Ridge subdivision). “In the summer of 2021, the City of Lakeland installed a new playground, bringing many families and children to the area to play. There was a need for additional seating for parents and children around the playground.”

Regarding how scouting has benefited him, he stated, “Scouting has benefited me in many ways all my life. It has taught me about leadership, service, and citizenship. I have served in several leadership positions within my Troop including Senior Patrol.”  His other achievements within the scouts include Leader, the highest youth position within a troop, as well as Brotherhood Member of The Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts of America’s Honor Society.  He has been in scouts since the first grade, after hearing about it at Lakeland Elementary School. First Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts in Middle School, totaling 12 years.

Upon graduating from Arlington High School Magna Cum Laude, he plans to attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville studying Anthropology on a Pre-Med Track.