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Eagle Scout Vihan Khanna

posted May 9, 2016, 7:05 PM by Webmaster Troop 16   [ updated May 9, 2016, 7:06 PM ]
-- Written and submitted by The Khanna Family

Vihan Khanna, who has lived in Livingston all his life, officially achieved the rank of Eagle Scout on September 8, 2015.  He was a part of the Northern New Jersey Council's biggest class of Eagle Scouts to date, being comprised of 394 scouts.

On Sunday April 24, 2016, Vihan was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at an Eagle Court of Honor which was held at St. Philomena's Church.  The ceremony included two other boys, Aidan Romualdo and Austin Biss.  The three boys have been in scouting together since they first joined Cub Scouts.

Vihan, who was a youth in scouting for 11 years, first joined scouting as a member of Den 6 in Pack 16 when he was in second grade.  He progressed through the ranks of Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Webelos I and Webelos II.  Vihan earned many awards as a Cub Scout including the Leave No Trace award, World Conservation Award, one arrow point, one compass point and the Arrow of Light award.  The Arrow of Light is the highest achievement that can be earned as a Cub Scout, and the only Cub Scout achievement that is worn on the Boy Scout uniform.  He bridged over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts in 2008.

As a member of Boy Scout Troop 16, Vihan progressed through the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and ultimately Eagle.  He earned many awards including the Totin Chip which certifies that a Scout knows how to properly use and handle tools such as a saw, a knife and a hatchet.  He also earned the Fireman Chit which certifies that a Scout knows how to properly build, maintain and clean a fire.  Throughout his years as a Boy Scout, Vihan also earned the Nothern New Jersey Council's Year Round Camper award and the National Honor Patrol Award.  While attending summer camp at Camp Turrell, Vihan earned the Polar Bear Swim award for two of the three years he attended.  He even earned Boys Life Magazine's Think & Grin award four times for being featured in the magazine.  He earned 13 required merit badges and eight elective merit badges fo a total of 21 merit badges.  Vihan held several positions in the Troop throughout his years including Librarian for a year and Quartermaster for two years.

Vihan attended many camps while a Boy Scout.  These include, but are not limited to, Camp Turrell, Camp Winnebago, Camp Lewis and Treasure Island.  Some of Vihan's favorite memories from camping include attending summer camp at Camp Turrell from 2008-2010, Battle Ship New Jersey in 2008, the Northern New Jersey Council's Centennial Camporee in 2010, a trip to the Coast Guard, and the State Police Camporee in 2011.  Vihan also had the opportunity to participate in Project Soaring Eagle at Camp Turrell in 2014 and the Leadership Excellence and Direct Results (LEDR) in 2015.

Vihan went on many hikes with the Troop.  At first, Vihan did not like hiking, but it has become one of his favorite things to do.  He has been on many 10- and 20-mile hikes including, but not limited to, Watchung Reservation, Jockey Hollow, Livingston and Lenape Trail.

Vihan was very involved with community service through his Troop.  He volunteered countless hours on many older scouts' Eagle projects.  Through his community service efforts with the Troop, Vihan developed a liking for community service.  Vihan enjoyed community service so much that he joined the Do Something club as a freshman in high school, and even went on to be president of the club for a year.  He even volunteered countless hours as a member of Do Something's Youth Advisory Council for three sessions, their Health Advisory Council for three sessions and an intern in their New York headquarters during the summer of 2013.  Vihan also volunteered many hours as part of the tech crew for Livingston High School's annual drama and musical productions.

One requirement to become an Eagle Scout is to plan and lead a service project.  This project is most commonly referred to as an Eagle Project.  For his Eagle Project, Vihan built a 250-foot footpath through a patch of woods near Heritage Middle School.  The path, which is located at the end of Westgate Road connects Westgate Road and North Westgate Road.  Vihan decided on this particular project because he noticed many kids crossing through that patch of woods daily to get to and from school.  He also noticed that the local residents enjoyed walking through there on their daily walks.  Since there was no real path there, and that section often got overgrown with weeds, Vihan decided to build an official footpath there.  A lot of work was required for this project.  Vihan had to plan the project and get it approved by both the Boy Scouts of America as well as the township since it was being built on township property.  The actual construction of the path was not without problems.  The initial cleanup of the path occurred in late fall and early winter of 2014.  The project had to be put on hold after the cleanup due to snowfall.  Once the snow cleared and spring came around, the actual construction of the path finally took place.  There were some obstacles along the way.  There were some large boulders in the way of the path.  Vihan had to dig them out so the path would be as level as possible.  Also, he had only bought about 20 bags of pebbles initially, but he used about 130 bags by the time the path was complete.  The path involved a lot of intense labor, and was very different from any other project Vihan had taken on in the past.  Vihan's Eagle Project taught him many valuable skills, including but not limited to, leadership, teamwork and problem solving.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is not the end of the journey.  It is merely the beginning.  Vihan has learned so many skills that will stick with him forever, and he has amassed a lifetime of memories.  He is continuing his journey with the Boy Scouts of America by becoming a member of his local venture crew, as well as becoming an Assistant Scout Master in his Troop.