There are nearly two years in age and one grade in school between brothers Carter and Cooper Murphy.
One thing they now share is Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor: Eagle Scout.
Since it was first awarded in 1912, more than 2 million young men have achieved the highest rank, according to scouting.org.
While the brothers finished their projects at different times this year, they participated in the board of review at the same time, Oct. 10 at First United Methodist Church in Seymour.
“I think that being able to do this together really added an extra layer of bonding between the two of us, and I think it’s something we’ll always be able to look back and talk about and just really connect for the fact that we got to do it together,” said Carter, 18, a senior at Seymour High School.
“We both got the biggest Boy Scout achievement at the same time basically together side by side,” said Cooper, 16, a junior at SHS.
Carter’s project was creating an SHS record board to place at the cross-country course at the Freeman Field Recreational Complex on the south side of Seymour, which is where local kids, from elementary to high school, practice and compete in meets. He also made mile marker signs for the 3K course.
Cooper’s project was building a barbecue patio outside Lutheran Community Home in Seymour.
Both boys started with Cub Scout Pack 529 in first grade and started with Boy Scout Troop 529 in sixth grade. In Scouts, they have participated in a lot of fun activities, including camping, games and even a high adventure trip to Colorado and Utah. Plus, they have learned a variety of skills, including tying knots, starting fires and setting up tents.
Once they were Boy Scouts, they knew they wanted to work their way through the ranks: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle.
“Definitely from the start, it has always been an ambition of mine to be able to say I’m an Eagle Scout and be able to tell people and be proud of that fact,” Carter said.
“In the beginning, it was a little slow, but as time moved on and the deadline closed in, I’ve been trying to get it done before I aged out,” Cooper said, as 18 is the age limit for Scouts.
Carter said he started his Eagle Scout process a couple of years ago.
“My record board idea, we had a cross-country meet at Bloomington North at their cross-country course and they had one,” he said. “I was like, ‘It would be pretty cool if we had one of these at our course.’”
As far as the course marker signs, Seymour Middle School cross-country coach Brad Cobb asked Carter if he would be willing to make those, and he agreed to do it.
Before work could begin, he had to fill out paperwork and submit to the Hoosier Trails Council for approval. Also, since his project was on city property, he had to present his idea to city officials and receive their approval.
“A couple of the (city board members), they actually had kids in middle school cross-country at the time, so they actually really liked the idea and thought it would benefit the kids and the community,” Carter said.
Next, he had to obtain the records information to put on the board and design it, buy materials and seek help from fellow Scouts to bring his idea to life.
“For the materials, my dad (James Murphy), he works in construction, so he has a pretty good idea of what we were going to need, so we just sat down one evening and figured what we were going to need, what it was going to cost because that all has to go into the paperwork,” Carter said.
The Scouts were willing to help him install the 6-by-3-foot record board, which includes school and course records for boys and girls cross-country, lists of the years the teams have won sectional and regional titles and qualified for the state meet and the names of individual state qualifiers. The 3K course marker signs denote the start and mile markers.
Since Carter has been running since fourth grade, this project meant a lot to him personally.
“I feel a great sense of pride that I was able to complete something this big, and I think the board in the end is going to help motivate people while they are out there to maybe do better because they can see the course records and maybe they want to try and beat that,” he said.
Cooper said the idea for his project stemmed from their mother, Kristi Murphy, working at Lutheran Community Home, an assisted and independent living facility on the south side of the city. He volunteered there over the summer and asked if there was a project he could do there.
When the barbecue patio was suggested, Cooper received approval from the Hoosier Trails Council and then worked on the plans and dimensions.
“They had ended up pouring the concrete slab for us. All we had to do was we laid the pavers and some glue and put a little 3D wall around the grill,” he said. “We went to Menards to get all of the stuff, and the next day, me and a few other Scouts and my dad got it done in a few hours. We got the project done at the end of June.”
The patio is near the assisted living building and the new independent living apartments, so it will be accessible to all of those residents.
“There are chairs around it, so if the residents wanted to go outside and have a little get-together or something, they could use the grill,” Cooper said. “It felt very good on the inside knowing that I helped benefit the community.”
After completing their projects, the Murphy brothers sent their paperwork to the Hoosier Trails Council. Then it went to Boy Scouts of America to approve and send back to the council to send a representative for the board of review to award the Eagle Scout rank.
During that ceremony, the boys were asked about their project, what merit badge impacted them the most, their scouting career and what they plan on doing after scouting.
“Through the Boy Scouts, I’ve definitely learned leadership abilities, which have helped me on my sports team,” Carter said. “Being a senior and a captain on my sports team, it has helped me with the leadership, and I’ve had to do a couple of first aid things throughout my life, and so the first aid merit badge, it has helped me with that.”
Cooper said Boy Scouts has taught him a lot of life skills.
“Hopefully, I can use it on a résumé because I might have more experience in some divisions over someone that doesn’t have that experience,” he said.
Carter is in his final year of Scouts, and Cooper said he is going to try to stay involved.
After high school, Carter said he wants to become an emergency medical technician and work toward a fire science degree to become a firefighter, which is what his father does for a career.
“With both of those, you only work every third day, so I was planning to maybe be an electrician on the other days,” Carter said.
Cooper said he’s considering studying aviation to become a pilot.
Considering all they have accomplished in Boy Scouts, the Murphys hope they inspire other kids.
“If somebody is thinking about Scouts, I’d say it’s definitely worth joining,” Carter said. “You get a lot of really meaningful life skills, and then you also get that level of friendships. Some of the people that were in Scouts with me, I never would have thought to be friends with until I met them in Scouts, so you just really develop new friendships and new skills and abilities that will help you later in life.”
Along with all of that, Cooper said you gain outdoor skills.
“If you get in a situation outside, you have a good general idea of how to survive out there,” he said.