By Hannah Brown, The State Journal
For the past 10 years, Matthew Tingle has been climbing up the ranks in Boy Scouts.
He began as a Tiger Scout at 6 years old with Pack 269. For five years, he rose through the ranks of Cub Scouts before becoming a Boy Scout for the next five years.
Now, at 16, Tingle, a homeschooled student, has earned 34 merit badges and can call himself an Eagle Scout — a rank that only seven out of 100 Boy Scouts will obtain.
State Journal: What are some of the harder badges you earned?
Matthew: The lifesaving badge. It was the same as the lifeguard test, plus some extra stuff.
Cooking was also hard. I had to complete a 19-page booklet. I had to document every meal I cooked for a week and we had to cook a meal for the troop.
I also had to do personal management — I had to buy groceries and make a budget. I had to do it for three months and save up and purchase what I needed for the meal for the troop.
Personal fitness was another one. I had to measure how many sit-ups and pull-ups I could do. I had to see how fast I could run a mile. Then, 30 days later, I had to do it all again and get a better time to pass it and get my badge.
SJ: What all did you have to do to earn Eagle status?
Matthew: I had to earn 13 specific Eagle Scout badges. And then, I had to earn an additional eight to become an Eagle Scout.
Then, once I had all of the required badges, I had to do a community service project. I had to have 100-plus service hours.
SJ: How did you decide what your Eagle project was?
Matthew: Troy Hearn, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet pedestrian and bicycle coordinator, learned I was looking for a project and said that some of the trails at Capitol View Park needed to be fixed. So, I picked the three worst trails to fix for my project.
One trail had a bunch of brickwork that had washed away and we stacked them back in, brick by brick. Some of the bridges were broken. We got new wood and nailed them back down.
We started the project in August. The first day, there were about 30 people who came to help. I finished the project in October.
SJ: Why was it important for you to earn Eagle Scout?
Matthew: It’s a great opportunity for the future events of my life. It’s more than just a badge. It’s a window for opportunity. I’ve had a lot of mentors along the way.
SJ: Who are some of the mentors who helped you gain Eagle Scout?
Matthew: Leighton Lavey, my youth minister at Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church. We used to have a time before church where we would talk about what is on your mind. He’s always encouraging.
Keith Doane — he’s been my scoutmaster for the last two years. He’s really encouraging. He’s pushed me along to get my Eagle Scout. He didn’t want me to wait. He gave me the Scout of the Year award.
SJ: What do you want to do after graduating high school?
Matthew: I want to work in cybersecurity. I’m thinking of going to Asbury or Campbellsville University as a starting point and see if I like it and go on from there. I want to work for a private business or a credit union.
SJ: How did you get interested in cybersecurity?
Matthew: Doug Graham came in and spoke to my troop about the cybersecurity department at the financial institution where he works.
I also participated in Cyber Patriot, an organization that teaches you how to stop hackers and learn the basics of cybersecurity. It was a competition funded by the Air Force.
Each competition is six hours long. Daniel Arnold is our coach. We went through each module. First was Windows 2009, then Linux and Sisco. Each program had a couple of things wrong and we had to do forensic questioning to decode the system and delete files. This was the first time we put a team together and we won second place in the state competition.
SJ: Do you plan to continue to help with Boy Scouts after graduating from high school?
Matthew: I will stay in the troop and be an assistant scoutmaster. I like to help out.
SJ: Outside of Boy Scouts, what do you like to do?
Matthew: I play baseball with Bluegrass United. It goes to the end of May. It’s a homeschool league.
I work as a lifeguard at the Frankfort YMCA. I’m saving up for a car.
I also serve on the Executive Council for the Capital Area Christian Homeschoolers National BETA Club.