One Naperville Boy Scout troop promoted 18 boys to Eagle Scout in 2012, a number that national Scout leaders call impressive.
The boys of Troop 81, which has about 90 Scouts, were recognized at an awards banquet last weekend.
"It was a little bit unusual," said assistant scoutmaster Joe Harrington, whose son, Kevin, was one of the recipients. "I see how busy kids get once they enter high school, so I start encouraging them early on."
National scouting officials said they do not keep official demographic records for the number of Eagle Scouts per troop, but admitted 18 was "truly incredible."
"That's pretty unusual," said Rene Fairrer, public relations manager for Boy Scouts of America. "Perhaps one factor was that many wanted to earn their Eagle badge last year, which was the 100th anniversary of the first Eagle Scout award."
One of the primary requirements to becoming an Eagle is to complete a significant community service project.
"When the kids start think about starting their project earlier on, it's a lot less rushed," said Harrington. "Many Scouts earn their Eagle badge at age 17, which is the last age you can earn one before becoming a Scout leader."
Kevin Harrington decided to build a number of tabletop games for people with developmental disabilities.
"I built 'shut the box' games for the Ray Graham Association," said Harrington, 15. "You roll two dice, add up the numbers and flip the corresponding tiles. I was told that a game that helps people to count would be beneficial, so I came up with this."
Other projects included Thomas Coates building wheelchair-accessible picnic tables. Andrew Bednar installed a paver brick patio and bike rack at River Glen Presbyterian Church in Naperville. Rajeev Udumula and Ben Gruman painted offices and classrooms at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Aurora.
"The purpose of the Eagle project is to show and demonstrate leadership," said Joe Harrington. "The 18 Eagle projects from Troop 81 alone last year accounted for over 4,000 service hours, with each one averaging about 200 man-hours of planning and implementation."
Troop 81 is one of several Naperville Boy Scout troops that are part of the Thunderbird district of the Three Fires Council of local scouts. In 2012, 57,976 Scouts earned the Eagle badge nationwide, with 416 of them being in the Three Fires Council.
"This is a new record class of Eagles for Three Fires Council and is proof that Scouting is alive and well," Kevin Harrington said in his speech at the awards banquet.
"Today, Feb. 8th, marks the 103rd anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America," he said. "In 2007, we recognized the 100th anniversary of the World Scouting movement created by Lord Robert Baden Powell in England. In 2010, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America here in the United States, and in 2012 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Sea Scouting along with the 100th anniversary of the very first Eagle Scout Award."
Officials said about 5 percent of Scouts attain the Eagle rank.
"I've been involved in Scouting for 20 years," said Joe Harrington, who is an Eagle Scout himself. "Most of us who are leaders do it because it's just as much fun for the adults as it is for youths. It's meaningful and rewarding to help guide kids on the right path."