When Jack Kopecky started Cub Scouts in first grade, he knew he would eventually join the ranks of the most elite Scouts, though he admits he didn’t know how long it would take.
Now, 18-year-old Kopecky not only earned the rank of Eagle Scout, an honor reserved for fewer than 5 percent of Scouts nationally, but he is continuing a family tradition started by his father, Randy, in 1981.
Out of hundreds of hours of work, he said that’s what means the most.
“My dad’s a really good example,” the Windsor High School senior said, adding that he was glad to finally reach the illustrious rank of Eagle — a journey that wasn’t always easy.
Jack started his scouting life in Iowa, but when his father had to relocate for work to Alabama — and ultimately Colorado — Boy Scouts almost got pushed to the back burner. Once the family got settled in Windsor in November 2010, it took some searching and determination to get involved with Troop 88, but soon enough he was back on track.
“They accepted us with open arms,” his father remembered.
To attain the rank of Eagle, Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges in areas highlighting wilderness skills, medical knowledge and outstanding citizenship in the community.
Jack Kopecky earned 23, surpassing that requirement just ahead of the 18-year-old age cutoff.
“A lot of leaders and a lot of my friends helped to guide me in leadership and in the troop,” he said.
In addition to earning merit badges through numerous classes and activities, Scouts must complete a special service project that bridges community gaps and highlights leadership. Kopecky’s project was to raise funds and repair the playground at the CASA Harmony House in Fort Collins — a project that took more than 200 hours of work to complete with other Scouts and families.
“It’s pretty daunting actually starting the project,” he said. “It took a lot of planning to get everything in motion. We had a lot of the troop come, which was really helpful.”
Moving forward, Jack Kopecky isn’t sure if scouting will remain a part of his life directly, though he said if he has a son, it will likely be an ongoing family tradition. In the meantime, he is an assistant Scout master in Troop 88 in Windsor and is planning to attend community college and ultimately a four-year university, though he isn’t sure exactly where he wants to end up.
His parents aren’t worried. For the time being, they’re just celebrating his achievements one day at a time.
“Jack’s just a good all-around kid,” Randy Kopecky said. “I’m just very proud to see him reach the pinnacle of Eagle.”