Strong bond helps friends become Eagle Scouts together
Cameron Devine, Nakia Medeiros and Brett Prescott accomplished something few can boast of when they all became Eagle Scouts during a ceremony on Jan. 4, but what makes their accomplishment even more special is that the trio of Pilgrim High School graduates has been good friends since grade school and they reached the rank of Eagle together.
The boys said it all started in fifth grade when Cameron convinced Nakia and Brett to join Troop 49 Lakewood.
“We all met in school. Cam talked us into joining and the friendship only got stronger from there,” Nakia said.
“I had been in Scouts since first grade and I convinced them to join [the troop],” Cameron said, adding that both Nakia and Brett had been in Scouts before moving and joining his troop.
“Fifth grade was when we transferred from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts,” Nakia added.
Cameron said moving through the ranks with his friends was a unique experience.
“Not everyone had a close group like we did; it was more fun and exciting for us,” he said. “We were always together.”
Brett said Scouting was a great experience overall, but added, “sticking with the same people made it better and more fun.”
Cameron said it was not only more exciting having his friends there to experience everything with him, but the boys helped each other when things got difficult.
“I probably wouldn’t have made it as far without them,” he said. “It was a long journey and a lot of work, but it was more exciting [with them]. It was a giant group effort.”
Nakia said, “It was great having my friends there because there’s someone there to back you up.” He said getting his life-saving merit badge was “really physically challenging but I got through it because of them.”
“Even though I complained halfway through, it was worth it in the end. It was a really rewarding experience,” Nakia said.
“I’m not going to say I wouldn’t have made it all the way [without them], but they definitely helped me out,” Brett added.
In addition to a common support system that each could rely on because the boys knew they would have each other’s back if the going got tough, Cameron said going through Scouting together also allowed them to share in the opportunity to participate in new experiences together.
“The best part was getting to take part in different experiences that you wouldn’t get to do if you weren’t in Scouts,” he said. “We were white water rafting and rock climbing at a young age. It’s fun to try different things.”
Nakia said he enjoyed the trips to Camp Yawgoog.
“It’s a week with friends and it allows you to build a lot of skills and learn time and money management,” he said.
Brett said Scouting isn’t just about the friends you make and the things you do, but also about the lessons you learn.
“Once you complete everything, you realize how beneficial it is,” he said. “There wasn’t anything I did that I didn’t enjoy.”
Cameron said one of the fun experiences he had was completing his Eagle Scout project.
“There was a courtyard at Pilgrim High School that was overgrown and hadn’t been touched in a long time,” he said. “My project was to pull out all the vines, cut down a few small dead trees, and rake it up. It was a fun day.”
For his Eagle Scout project, Nakia said he collected bathroom and toiletry items, such as soaps, towels and deodorants, which he gave to the Rhode Island Family Shelter in Conimicut, while Brett said he worked with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island in Exeter and built 13 birdhouses in his backyard to replace the existing ones at the Audubon Society that were rotting.
While the troop has had groups of Scouts make the rank of Eagle together in the past, Cameron said it’s a rare occasion to do something like that.
“It was a pretty cool feeling to become an Eagle Scout. Such a small percentage of people make it,” he said. “It’s more special when it’s with a group of friends. It was exciting and for us and really cool.”
Nakia added, “Becoming an Eagle Scout was the proudest feeling I’ve ever had. I’ve been working eight years at it.”
As part of the Eagle ceremony, the boys received mentor pins; Brett and Nakia gave their pins to their teacher, Christopher Bianco, while Cameron gave a mentor pin to both of his grandfathers, Normand Thibeault and William Devine.
While the boys have all gone off to college – Cameron is studying computer engineering at the University of New Hampshire; Nakia is studying mechanical engineering at Community College of Rhode Island; and Brett is studying marine engineering at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy – Cameron said they still stay in touch.
“We text each other all the time and every time we come home, we hang out,” he said. “We haven’t had much time to get any camping in yet, but we’re planning to do some camping trips this summer.”
Nakia said he encourages anyone to join Boy Scouts.
“It’s a really great and rewarding experience, and something to be proud of,” he said.