Elkridge man taps Scouting experience to help other Eagles soar

As Scoutmaster of Troop 432 in Elkridge, Bill Neault attends a Boy Scout meeting each week, and every month goes camping with the boys in his troop. In addition, over the summer, he'll spent at least a full week at summer camp, then another at Philmont — a high-adventure camp for Scouts in New Mexico.

The 28-year-old concedes that his fiancee is putting a little heat on him these days.

"I do get quite the pressure from ... being gone all the time," Neault said with a chuckle.

But travel, and Scouting, are key parts of Neault's life. After spending five years in the Navy, he came home to the community and the Scout troop where he achieved the rank of Eagle, the Boy Scouts' highest rank.

His said his experiences in Scouts helped prepare him for life in the Navy and gave him a sense of responsibility to pass those skills along.

"I was always a step ahead. It wasn't just a coincidence," he said. "Everything I had to do in the military was like Scouts. I realized everything Scouting did for me."

Neault's dedication to Troop 432 will be recognized Wednesday, when he receives the Eagle to Eagle award at the Baltimore Area Council's annual event for alumni Eagle Scouts. The award is given to an adult Eagle Scout who continues to give back to the community and who guides boys through the ranks of Scouts.

Assistant Scoutmaster Elias Kelehan nominated him for the award.

Neault became head of Troop 432 more than two years ago. Under his leadership, membership has grown from about 15 boys to 37. Neault said the recipe to build that membership and engage youngsters has been a combination of activity and sharing his own energy about scouting.

"It is difficult to compete with soccer or lacrosse and video games," Neault said. "When I came out of the service, I thought in my head, 'I have to make it cool.' I don't want someone to miss out on it."

As a youth-run troop, the Scouts in the Elkridge group do all the creating and planning for meetings and events, while Neault provides guidance — and transportation. The pride of ownership for the troop's direction has kept the Scouts involved, and Neault's passion has rubbed off as well.

"I thought he was the perfect representative," Kelehan said. "He's a younger guy. There are so many other things he could do with his time, and he decided to give back to Scouts."

"We really needed someone as Scoutmaster," Kelehan said of Troop 432, where he, too, was a member and achieved Eagle Scout rank. "He really stepped up."

Neault gives credit to his fiancee, his family, his fellow Scout leaders and the Scouts and their families for all the troop has been able to accomplish, including seeing many of its own Scouts reach the Eagle level. But Neault says there's still a lot more to do to pass along Scouting's values to the next generation.

"It's a tall bill to stand up to," Neault said of receiving the Eagle to Eagle award. "I'm still working toward it."

In addition to Neault, another Howard County resident involved in Scouting will be recognized at the awards event. Elliott Yozwiak of Columbia is one of three Scouts whose projects have been nominated for the Eagle Scout Project of the Year. The other finalists for this award are Avery Engel of Lutherville and James Heuser of Towson. The winner will be announced at the event.

For information on the annual gathering and other events for Scouts, contact Taadie Kennedy at 443-573-2521 or tkennedy@baltimorebsa.org, or go to baltimorebsa.org.

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