Youth News

Court of Honor Recognizes Brandon Zahler’s Eagle Scout Achievement
By Penny Williams    6-3-15

Camp Zion in Raymond was the setting for Brandon M. Zahler’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. A member of Raymond Boy Scout Troop 101, Brandon became the sixth Eagle Scout in his troop, following in the footsteps of his brother Ryan Zahler, who became an Eagle Scout in 2013.


Brandon Zahler takes part in his Eagle Scout Court of Honor at Camp Zion in Raymond.


Troop 101 is sponsored by the Raymond Firefighter's Association and is hosted by the Raymond Sportsman's Club. It was chartered in December 2010 from the merger of Raymond Troops 100 and 111.

Representing Raymond Fire Chief Kevin Pratt and the Raymond Firefighter's Association was Firefighter Robert McConn, who presented Brandon with the Eagle Scout plaque with his name added.


Brandon Zahler’s name has been added to the Eagle Scout plaque. Displaying the plaque is Raymond Firefighter Robert McConn. The Raymond Firefighter’s Association sponsors Troop 101, and Brandon is the troop’s sixth Eagle Scout.


The Eagle Scout Award is the highest achievement in Boy Scouts of America. In order to achieve the rank, a Scout has to earn merit badges, serve his troop in a leadership position, and plan and carry out a community project.

Brandon, 18, has been a Boy Scout since first grade. He is a senior at Raymond High School and will be attending Union College in the fall. He is the son of Marc and Marie Zahler.

At the Sunday, May 24, 2015 ceremony, Scout Master Rick Arnold complimented Brandon and his family, saying they all labored long and faithfully to bring him to this honor.


Brandon Zahler is flanked by his parents, Marc and Marie Zahler, at his Eagle Scout ceremony.


Brandon's Eagle Scout project was planning and constructing a map kiosk for the entrance to Riverside Park in Raymond. The map features all of the trails in the park as well as landmarks, such as the dog park. Information boards are on both sides of the map, available for the Riverside Park community to post announcements and for anyone visiting the park to leave notices. Memorial bricks are at the base of the kiosk. The bricks were sold as a fundraiser for the project.

The project also involved cleaning up two of the trails in the park that had become overgrown and creating trail markers that were placed along each of the trails to keep visitors on the paths.

Completing an Eagle Scout project is important for the community service it provides as well as for the lessons the scouts learn in planning, developing, and completing their projects, scout officials note. Raymond Selectman Chair Greg Bemis, who is also the chairman of the Riverside Park Committee, said Brandon’s project was beneficial for the community and thanked Brandon for his work.


Raymond Selectman Chair Greg Bemis and Kathy Lee, both members of the Riverside Park Committee, congratulate Brandon Zahler, whose Eagle Scout project was a kiosk and trail work at Riverside Park.


Kathy Lee, Riverside Park Committee secretary, complimented Brandon not only on his project but for his donation of money from his brick fundraising campaign to the committee, which will use the money in its water fund.

Selectwoman Colleen West-Coates recognized Brandon’s spirit of volunteerism and his involvement of others in the process of completing his project. Selectman Jonathan Wood presented Brandon with a Certificate of Recognition, and State Representative Carolyn Matthews, R-Raymond told him the Town is honored by his achievements. State Senator John Regen presented him with a Senate Resolution.


State Representative Carolyn Matthews, R-Raymond congratulates Brandon Zahler at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor.


Brandon’s brother Ryan spoke at the ceremony and said Brandon would be obligated to live with honor, be loyal to those he leads, be courageous in his leadership role and serve others, while having a vision for the future that would allow him to blaze his own trail.

Brandon thanked everyone for attending the Court of Honor and said his journey had required dedication and hard work, but he would not have made it without the help of all the people who supported and encouraged him along the way.

"It has been an important part of life," he said. He spoke of following in his brother's footsteps and having had the wholehearted support of his family. While he said much of his scouting experience had been fun, the greatest lesson was learning how to work as part of a team and to develop leadership skills that will help him in college and in life. The biggest lesson learned doing his Eagle Scout project, he said, was that things don't always work out as expected. He went on to say that part of the learning process was learning how to communicate effectively.

Master of Ceremonies at the Court of Honor was Scout Troop 101 Committee Chair Doug Vogel of Raymond, who told the audience that if they haven't seen Brandon's Eagle project, "the kiosk is located at Riverside Park, is highly visible and to the right of the parking lot. Actually you can't miss it and you should go and see it."

All photos are courtesy of Raymond Belanger of O’Fallon, Mo., Brandon’s uncle.


Brandon Zahler Achieves Eagle Scout - 2-10-15

On January 21st, 2015, Brandon Zahler of Raymond Boy Scout Troop 101, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout; the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve. To obtain this rank, he had to earn at least 21 merit badges, 12 of which are higher level Eagle merit badges. Railroading, Bicycling, and Citizen in the Nation are a few of Brandon’s favorite merit badges.

In addition to the merit badges, Brandon had to hold a leadership position in the troop and complete a substantial project through which the scout learns project management, budgeting, fund raising, and people management. For his Eagle project, Brandon chose to build a map kiosk at Raymond’s Riverside Park and to clear and remark some existing hiking trails within the park. He received donations from several local businesses and community organizations. Brandon also received funds for materials by selling memorial bricks which can be seen at the base of the kiosk.


Brandon Zahler proud of his Merit Badge accomplishments


Brandon has been a scout for 12 years. The first 5 years he was a member of Cub Scout Pack 100 where he earned the Arrow of Light award, the highest level a Cub Scout can earn. Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout puts Brandon into a select group of young men who have taken on this challenge.

Only 1 in 4 boys becomes a boy scout and only 4% of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Rank. It is an award that is held in high esteem by community organizations, colleges, and prospective employers. Some well known Eagle Scouts include astronaut Neil Armstrong, Sec of Def. Robert Gates, movie producer Steven Spielberg, and reality TV star Mike Rowe.

Some of Brandon’s other accomplishments include being a high ranking scholar, a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the RHS track team, and a member of the Raymond Police Explorers. This fall, Brandon plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in biology or bio-chemistry with the goal of becoming a doctor.

Submitted by Marc Zahler

Riverside Park Trails on Kiosk, Thanks to Brandon Zahler's Eagle Scout Project   By Penny Williams   12-03-14

Riverside Park in Raymond now has a map kiosk outlining all of the park’s trails, thanks to Brandon Zahler’s Eagle Scout project.

Zahler planned and constructed the map kiosk for the entrance to Riverside Park for his Eagle Scout project. Completing an Eagle Scout project is important for the community service it provides as well as for the lessons the scout learns in planning, developing, and completing his project, scout officials say.

Zahler, 17, explained that his project consisted of a map kiosk at the park entrance that includes all of the trails in the park as well as landmarks, such as the dog park. Information boards are located on both sides of the map, and are available for people to post announcements and for anyone visiting the park to leave notices. Memorial bricks, sold as a fundraiser for the project, are at the base of the kiosk.


Brandon Zahler in front of the finished Kiosk


“Another part of the project included cleaning up two of the trails in the park that had become overgrown,” he said. “The Gold Eagle Trail was cleared of debris with the help of my grandparents, parents, scoutmasters, fellow scouts, and friends. And another aspect of the project consisted of creating trail markers that were placed along each of the trails in order to keep visitors on the right paths.”

Zahler chose this project because he and his family have frequently visited Riverside Park for community events. His brother Ryan also did his Eagle project at the park.

“While we worked on his project, the Eagle Ridge Trail, I realized that there was no centralized map with information for the trails at the park,” he said. “So I decided that for my project, I would build a kiosk to help visitors to the park get around. My project benefits visitors to the park, and the Riverside Park Committee provided information for visitors to the park, helping them to find their way through all of the different trails that the park has to offer.”


Brandon Zahler with Bruce Welch and Scout Master Joe Cowan


His project involved 107 man-hours and took sixth months for the work and the fundraising. The total expenses for the project were approximately $1,300 and the total income from the fundraiser and donations was approximately $1,545.    

“Since there was $245 in profit from the project fundraising, that surplus amount will go to the Riverside Park Committee for them to make improvements to the park,” he said.

“I raised the funds for my Eagle project by selling engraved memorial bricks. The bricks were also given to companies or individuals who made donations to the project. The bricks were engraved by the local company Lost Treasures Laser. The profits from the brick sales were used to pay for the materials needed for the completion of the project.”

Zahler is currently the Junior Assistant Scoutmaster of Raymond Boy Scout Troop 101. Joe Cowan is his Unit Leader. To complete his project, Brandon said he was helped by his family, friends, fellow scouts, and adult leaders.


Brandon Zahler and Riverside Park Chairman Greg Bemis


“I also received help from several local businesses who donated money and time to the project,” he said. “Some of these include Jackson Lumber, Hi Volt Line Construction and Maintenance, Radio Grove Hardware, and Lost Treasures Laser.”

He added, “Being a Boy Scout has taught me many things throughout my life, such as the importance of leadership and striving to be the best role model I can be. I have learned to live my life in accordance with the Scout Oath and Scout Laws. These Laws and the Scout Oath have taught me to be a model citizen and leader for my peers and fellow scouts. I have risen through the ranks of Boy Scouts and distinguished myself as a leader, not to help myself, but to help the other scouts in the troop to be the best that they can be. Ultimately, being a Boy Scout has made me the leader that I am today, and I will carry the things I have learned from Scouts with me forever.”

He said the most important thing he learned from his Eagle project was that plans do not always work out perfectly. “Before I began the project, I had a detailed plan of what the kiosk would look like, and the final result did not turn out exactly as planned,” he said. “The plan had to change due to such things as the electrical wiring near the kiosk. The location of the wiring and the kiosk required me to change the structure of the kiosk from four supporting poles to two larger supporting poles. I learned the valuable lesson that in any project, it is necessary to adapt plans to new developments in the project.”

Zahler is a senior at Raymond High School and is the son of Marc and Marie Zahler. 

Photos courtesy of Greg Bemis.
























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