Ecstatic! Beyond ecstatic. Those were the words Carol and David Hartwig used to describe how they felt as they watched their seventh son Jacob, age 16 receive his Eagle award recently. What made this such a special event is that Jacob is the seventh and youngest of the Hartwig sons to earn the distinguished Boy Scout honor.
The Hartwigs, who live in the Estrella Ward, Buckeye Arizona Stake, have been avid scouters since their oldest son Robert became a cub scout. Carol was the wolf den leader at that time. Both mother and son loved scouting. “It just stuck,” she said. Robert’s brothers all embraced the scouting program just as he did. And dad was no exception. “Each brother set an example for their younger brothers,” said Sister Hartwig. There is a twenty-year span of scouting between Robert and Jacob filled with scout activities and merit badges. The family consists David and Carol and their sons Robert, Dean Russel, Matthew, Bradley, Ryan, Eric, and Jacob.
These parents of seven active boys firmly believe that scouting is a family affair. “We believe that parents need to be actively engaged with their scouts,” said Brother Hartwig. By actively involved he means supporting them any way possible. He has done just that by participating in many of his sons’ troop activities, going to scout camp, helping with merit badges, going on three day trips to a Boy Scout camp in Colorado and rafting down the Colorado River.
“We’ve been very impressed with our scout leaders,” commented Sister Hartwig. Both the Hartwig’s expressed deep gratitude for the leaders their sons have had throughout the years. The family has moved several times and each time one of the first things they wanted to know about their new ward was about the Young Men and whether there was an active scouting program.
Becoming an Eagle Scout was an expectation in the Hartwig household, just as was going on a mission. “The boys didn’t necessarily all obtain their Eagle Rank by the time they were sixteen, but they all knew they couldn’t get their driver’s license until they did,” said Sister Hartwig.
They all agree that obtaining the rank of Eagle is more than just working on merit badges and doing an Eagle project. There are other requirements included in the Eagle packet that must be done before turning it can be submitted for approval. Writing the Eagle project proposal before the project is started, doing the project, and writing a report on the completed project are only part of the complete packet. Several other steps are also required. Accepting and meeting the challenge of becoming an Eagle Scout offers long-term effects. The development of leadership skills, taking responsibility, and seeing the project through from beginning to end helps prepare young men for missions and will be useful all their lives. Brother and Sister Hartwig are proud of their sons and are pleased about all the life skills the boys have learned by being in the Boy Scout program.