COVINGTON, Ga. — Only about 8% of all Boy Scouts advance to earn its highest rank annually.
In a Newton County troop, that percentage is a little higher thanks in part to one family.
Five Eagle Scouts in Troop 222 have come from the Green family, while two girls from the same family are married to Eagle Scouts, too.
All are the children of Paul and Dana Green of Oxford.
Mrs. Green said her sons entered Boy Scouts knowing they wanted to work toward the highest rank attainable.
"They saw it as a priority," she said.
Those who earned Eagle Scout ranks within the Green family included brothers Noah, a firefighter with the Newton County Fire Service; Parker, who graduated from Truett McConnell University; and Ethan, Levi and Deacon, who are all students.
The Eagle Scouts in the family also include sons-in-law Quin Pitts, who is a Covington Police Department officer and married to sister Hannah; and Russell Sloss, a civil engineer who is married to sister Taylor.
All but Sloss earned their Eagle ranks while in Troop 222 with the latest being Levi, the Greens' youngest son, in September.
The daughters met their future husbands through scouting with both Taylor and Hannah involved in Venture Scouts. The Slosses met at Bert Adams Scout Camp in south Newton County, Mrs. Green said.
Members of the Boy Scouts of America must earn merit badges that prove their mastery of a number of skills and activities to advance through the ranks in the youth organization.
The highest rank is Eagle and the Scout must have earned at least 21 merit badges to be considered for it, according to information from the Boy Scouts of America.
He also must serve as a youth leader in the troop; be interviewed by a board of review; and "plan, develop, and give leadership to others" in doing a service project that benefits any religious institution, school or “your community."
Mrs. Green said one area of scouting that drew her sons’ interests was its emphasis on outdoor life.
The five Eagle Scouts in the Green family were able to participate in activities ranging from camping to whitewater rafting and caving while in Troop 222, she said.
Troop members typically traveled to take in such camp experiences as Camp Daniel Boone in North Carolina, which allows Scouts to learn skills used in everyday life in the 1700s, Mrs. Green said.
She said all the boys and her husband also traveled numerous times to Camp Philmont — traditionally considered the ultimate Boy Scout outdoor experience — in New Mexico.
An estimated 22,000 Scouts and adult leaders backpack, camp and take in outdoor activities annually at the 219-square-mile Scout ranch in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains in northeastern New Mexico.
Deacon Green, who recently finished a third semester at University of North Georgia, admitted he felt he needed to earn the Eagle Scout rank just as his brothers did before him.
"They just wouldn't let me live that down," he said.
He said the family always has been the "outdoorsy" type and Boy Scouts gave him multiple opportunities to do a wide range of activities while learning some skills that could prove valuable in life.
The 19-year-old admitted he could have spent the time he devoted to Boy Scouts to other activities his age group favored but chose to gain the experiences the organization gave him.
For example, he was able to travel to Camp Philmont twice at ages 13 and 18, he said.
"It was a worthwhile trade-off," Deacon Green said.
Mrs. Green said after her sons participated in Boy Scouts, they found they wanted to go as far as possible in the program.
"The longer we were in, our boys just kind of wanted to do that," she said.
She said her husband, Paul, had been a Scout and she knew he would be involved in the program with their sons.
Boy Scouts is "a great way to teach leadership (and) citizenship," Mrs. Green said.
She also home-schooled all of her eight children over a 20-year period.
“The Scouting program was a great way to augment my homeschooling efforts," she said.
Lea Aldridge is the wife of longtime Scoutmaster Jerry Aldridge and assists the troop's Eagle Scout candidates. The retired educator and longtime civic leader said she admires the Green brothers for their leadership skills and work ethic.
"When they tackle a task, they do it," she said.
Troop 222 was chartered in 1937 and has continuously operated for 83 years, according to information from its website.
Troop records online list 118 Eagle Scouts in 71 years between 1938 and 2009 — with names like Bledsoe, Lassiter, Trammell and Miley among them.
The troop, which is sponsored by the Covington Kiwanis Club, now has 46 members. It has seen more than 60 members earn the Eagle Scout rank in the past 30 years.
Mrs. Aldridge said the troop's Eagle Scout candidates work hard to keep up the tradition of the historic troop.
"That is amazing to have that many in a small troop," she said.
It also has boasted such leaders as former Covington mayor Sam Ramsey and Jerry Aldridge, a longtime Newton County Schools administrator.