Ayush Doshi, 16, has received the highest honor of any Scout who embarks upon this trajectory — The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
Only 1% of Boy Scouts earn this honor. Ayush was recognized for his work throughout his time at Old Glory Boy Scout Troop 499 by his Eagle Scout Court of Honor on Sept. 16.
Ayush’s mother, Anjali Doshi, reflected on her sentiments as a proud mother of not one, but two Eagle Scouts in an interview. Ayush’s brother, Suraj, also earned the status at 18 years old.
“I’m extremely proud of Ayush’s achievements throughout his life. He has been a wonderful kid, if I may say so, but specifically regarding the Eagle Scout, I know the journey is not as easy and straightforward,” Anjali said. “It takes years of time, effort and commitment that goes into being a Boy Scout. I have seen him as a Webelo joining the Boy Scouts, then earning different badges and ranks and taking it each step at a time.”
Ayush, during the interview, reflected on his own experiences as he grew through the Webelo program in the beginning of 2017, until he became a Boy Scout in July 2019. Reaching the highest rank, he looks forward to helping other students who are similarly following his path.
“The Eagle Scout is the highest form. Once you achieve the Eagle Rank, there isn’t too much to do other than being a leader in your troop, and helping somebody younger,” Ayush said. “I became interested in Scouting as a whole when I saw my brother participate in it. Now, as an Eagle Scout, the rank of Eagle holds a special place in my heart, because to become an Eagle Scout, one must go through a rigorous journey of self-discovery, leadership and community service.”
In terms of advice, Ayush wants other Scouts to fixate on the lessons learned along the way, rather than the badges earned: “[To me], it’s not about earning the merit badges or achieving a higher rank. In my opinion, it’s more about becoming a more well-rounded, responsible and compassionate individual. So that’s something that I really took out of the Scouting program, and what I really enjoyed from it.”
Being an Eagle Scout entails earning 21 merit badges, along with the Board of Review exam and a community service project. During the ceremony, Ayush was recognized for his continuous efforts in leadership, including his work with a local nonprofit organization.
“I worked with a nonprofit organization called Bridge to Home, where their overall goal and purpose is to help shift homeless families into housing — which really fell in line with what I wanted to do,” Ayush said. “I’ve always wanted to find some way to help, and my Eagle Project was the perfect avenue for me to do so. It was very heartwarming.”
Receiving this honor was not easy, to say the least, and required focus from Ayush.
“The most challenging aspect of achieving the Eagle Scout was the time commitment and management, because balancing Scouting with my other commitments like school, sports and other activities, was really no small feat, and Scouting demanded a significant amount of my time and dedication,” Ayush said. “So not only was I working on improving my own skill set by earning the different merit badges and survival or leadership skills, but I also recognized that I was making a positive impact on my community and the people around me through volunteering.”
The hourlong ceremony included multiple speakers discussing Ayush’s growth, including a speech from Mayor Jason Gibbs — who reflected on his own experiences as a Cub Scout, and how reaching the level of an Eagle Scout is no easy feat. Gibbs then congratulated Ayush on this honor.
The ceremony also included speeches from Nina Rettke, unit commissioner for the Bill Hart District, former Scoutmaster Mary Ostlund, as well as Ayush’s father, Scoutmaster Niraj Doshi. In his speech, he reflected on the honor, as well as commitment, his son exhibited during his time as a Scout.
“This is an occasion for pride and joy, as well as a time for serious reflection. The Eagle is the highest recognition offered in Scouting. It is earned through the advancement program and the wear of the Eagle Award is the embodiment of Scouting, his best efforts and beliefs,” said Scoutmaster Doshi.
Scoutmaster Doshi continued, describing Ayush’s mark as a community leader.
“Ayush has distinguished himself due to his continued performance of active services … he has trained and practiced his leadership skills and he is marked by the character gained through an understanding of his citizenship and service to his community.”
Along with watching his growth as a Scout, Scoutmaster Doshi talked about the growth his son has experienced as an individual.
“For me personally, while being the scoutmaster of this troop, I have witnessed Ayush’s journey from being a young Scout to a young man now, about to obtain the highest rank in Scouting,” Scoutmaster Doshi said. “Watching him mature into a contributing and conscientious member of society has not only been a proud moment for me, but a thoroughly memorable one. I’m proud of what Ayush has gained from the Scouts. And as a father, I’m even more proud to see what he has given back to Scouting and his team.”