Brothers receive Eagle Scout honors
Twins Nick Layden and Matt Layden of Western Springs light candles to represent their transition to becoming an Eagle Scout. | Ruthie Hauge ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:05AM
Brothers Matt and Nick Layden believe life would have been different had they never gotten involved with the Boy Scouts.
“I could talk for hours on this one. But really, you can ask a million different people and you’ll get a million different answers. But what I get out of it is a sense of pride,” said Matt Layden.
Nick Layden says the organization has given him life skills.
“Very important life skills I don’t think I’d be able to learn in other places. I’ve definitely learned how to take care of myself and be responsible,” he said.
The brothers are identical twins and on May 27 they both received the highest honor a Scout can receive, the Eagle Scout Award.
“It would be the highest rank, it takes years of, I would almost say, practice, leadership, learning how to become a responsible (person) not only for yourself but for others,” Nick Layden said.
In order to receive the award the Laydens each had to complete a community service project.
Nick Layden created an educational garden for the Pleasant Dale Park District’s Walker Park in Burr Ridge.
“My idea was to have native plants growing there,” Nick Layden said.
The garden is also designed to teach children about food and where it comes from. “To teach them that they have to grow it and take care of it and be responsible for it,” he said.
The project took Nick Layden and a crew of fellow scouts, friends and family about 270 volunteer hours to complete in November of 2011.
As for Matt Layden, he designed and built seven outdoor shelters for dogs at the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago.
“(The society was), I mean, more than happy,” Matt Layden said.
He and his father worked together to design the shelters. Matt Layden also asked friends and fellow scouts to help with the construction. In the end, he spent about 400 volunteer hours working on the project.
“(The Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago) said they were a professionally done job and they did not expect them to be the quality they were,” Matt Layden said.
The final dog houses were delivered to the society in March of this year.
According to the Boy Scouts of America, only about 2 percent to 3 percent of Boy Scouts receive the Eagle Scout Award each year. The average age for recipients is 16 and a half.
The Laydens are 16 and both wanted to receive Eagle Scout status before they got older.
“I run both cross country and track for (Lyons Township High School). If you don’t get it done by your sophomore yea . . . the light really fades in terms of getting it done,” Matt Layden said.
He said it becomes harder to focus on a community service project with graduation and college on the mind.
Nick Layden has the same attitude and recognizes that as he gets older, he will need to prepare for college and he may not have the time to do a volunteer project for the community.
“I did (my project) when I was younger because... I wanted to get a little bit more fulfillment and sense of what it’s like to have that responsibility all myself,” Nick Layden said.
Nick and Matt Layden belong to Troop 3, sponsored by All Saints Episcopal Church in Western Springs. They joined when they were 6, mostly because they saw the positive effect it had on their older brother Will Layden, who received the Eagle Scout Award in 2008.