Anyone who spends 10 years doing something they love is bound to miss it when it is gone.
Twins Chris and Spencer Tatum, 17, have just about a month to go before they age out of the Boy Scouts program, and they’d like to keep going by becoming Eagle Scouts.
To do that, they’ve had to put in a lot of work.
“It’s about 21 merit badges that you have to complete,” Chris said. “They’re Eagle-required and, as following with the rest of the actual rank, there’s a lot of paperwork involved in those badges — a lot of work. So, that usually takes up quite a bit of time from the time you get in, till the time you hit Eagle.”
Everything has to be completed before the Scout’s 18th birthday, and the Tatums found themselves just one project away from completion. Their father, Mike Tatum, had an idea.
“We were looking around, trying to find projects, and my father recommended that we talk to Ms. (Marsha) Passmore,” Spencer said. “So, we set up an appointment and went out to the theater, and we asked her what she needed done.”
Fortunately for the twins, the Plant City Entertainment building was in need of some work, including interior paint, landscaping and a handicap ramp.
“Originally, I was going to try and install the ramp,” Spencer said. “But, unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to get the permits. There were a lot of permits involved in that, so we just did the landscaping and the painting.”
Once they had settled on their tasks, the twins got to work on their Boy Scouts swan song. Last weekend, on the final day of the project, they rounded up the rest of the boys in their troop and had everybody get involved — one more time together.
SCOUTS FOR LIFE
The journey to scouting’s highest honor began 10 years ago, when the Tatums were in second grade.
Chris and Spencer started as Cub Scouts, where they first met some of the scouts who now are in their current troop. Both boys have taken leadership roles within Troop 5, albeit very different ones.
Spencer began as the troop’s bugler. According to both twins and their mother, that was a less-than-stellar venture.
Spencer himself will admit that he probably “killed” the position, as it was discontinued after he gave it up.
“(The troop) went to the point of shoving sticks and milk in my bugle at a campout,” Spencer said. “I kind of took that as a hint as, ‘Stop playing.’ They were kind of tired of waking up to my terrible noise.”
So, he decided to take on a role as a den chief, which put him in charge of a Cub Scout den. Three years later, he’s still at it.
“I’ve moved up quite a few (Cub Scouts),” Spencer said.
Chris, on the other hand, was the troop’s librarian for some time. It’s a position he has since left, after the troop’s most recent election.
PUTTING IN WORK
The Tatums have been working on Plant City Entertainment’s building for about a month. The twins split most of the work, with Chris taking the inside and Spencer leading the exterior efforts.
“He thought he was going to get the better part of the deal when he went with the interior painting,” Spencer said. “But, I was looking around and seeing how much painting would have to be done, and I was like, ‘I’m going outside.’”
The interior proved to be the most work, specifically all of the building’s untreated cedar that required painting.
“That was fun — not,” Chris quipped.
But, now that the projects are complete, the Tatums will become Eagle Scouts when they turn 18, giving them the opportunity to continue their lives in scouting.
Contact Justin Kline at firstname.lastname@example.org.