Parker becomes Eagle Scout

Arlington Eagle Scout Matthew Parker has earned 23 merit badges in his 11 years as a Boy Scout.   - Kirk Boxleitner
Arlington Eagle Scout Matthew Parker has earned 23 merit badges in his 11 years as a Boy Scout.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Matthew Parker, 17, has earned his Eagle Rank, the highest rank awarded by the Boy Scouts.

For his Eagle Scout service project, Parker enlisted the aid of nearly a dozen of his peers in assembling six concrete benches, to be placed along Centennial Trail. Cuz Concrete created the pre-ordered pieces, which Parker opted for after consulting with the city of Arlington. He and his team then had to do the heavy lifting of putting all pieces together themselves.

A member of Troop 81, Parker joined the Boy Scouts 11 years after “getting excited about the Tiger Cubs,” according to Arlene Parker, his mother.

Matthew explained that he enjoys camping, hiking and the other outdoor activities that the Boy Scouts had to offer, while Arlene noted that Scouting has allowed Matthew to spend more time with his father, Bradley Parker. After his initial enthusiasm, Matthew’s main reason for staying in the Boy Scouts was a very goal-oriented one.

“I had the desire to get everything completed, to finish all my ranks leading up to Eagle,” Matthew Parker said. “I liked the diversity and uncertainty of it. There were always different events. There were some times when it was harder to stick with it than others, like when I had to do paperwork or other rote, routine things, but I didn’t want to quit.”

Matthew has earned 23 merit badges, which he insisted was “not a lot.” His favorite to earn was the swimming merit badge, because he enjoys being in the water, while the most difficult one was the environmental science merit badge, which he admitted he found “tedious” for the amount of note-taking and report-writing that it required.

When asked to sum up his years with the Boy Scouts, Matthew described his time as “an experience that you have to go through yourself to understand.” He encouraged other young people to join the Boy Scouts, telling them, “If you work hard, you’ll obtain what you want in the end.”

An incoming senior at Arlington High School, Matthew still hasn’t narrowed down his choices of colleges or universities, but he does expect to major in computer science, since it appeals to his instincts as a designer. In the meantime, he recalled trips he’s taken to locations ranging from Catalina Island to New Mexico, while his mother pointed out that he’s managed to raise more than $1,000 each year for eight years to attend various camps, including a three-year stretch when he raised $2,000 each year by selling popcorn.

“I’m proud of how goal-oriented he’s become,” Arlene Parker said. “The Boy Scouts have been good for him.”

To read The Arlington Times’ July 30, 2008, story about Matthew Parker, you can log onto

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