The son of Meredith and Will Ensign, Liam’s Scouting journey started in first grade with Cub Scouts as a Tiger Cub, and unlike many boys at the age, Liam stuck to it. He realized early on that this organization had much to offer, even as he got older and busier with school and sports and other organizations.
“Even though, at times, with everything else going on in my life, including school and sports, I knew that if I stuck with Scouting, it would be worth it in the end,” Liam said.
Committed, he admitted there were plenty of low points during his journey to Eagle Scout.
“There have been many highs and a few low points throughout my time in Scouts. One of the best times I had was summer camp at Skymont Scout Reservation on the Cumberland Plateau near Altamont, Tenn. I was able to take responsibility for the troop as the senior patrol leader, as well as earn some really cool merit badges such as metalworking. However, during my Scouting experience, it was not just highs. There were also struggles, such as the night when it rained so much while we were camping you might have thought we had just gone swimming … so much for the waterproof tents,” Liam said.
This young man learned to juggle schedules and obligations and conflicts and time at an age when that level of organization is not common.
“Balancing Scouting with school and other commitments has sometimes been challenging because of the weekly meetings and the time required for merit badges and service projects. All that I learned and the support from Scout leaders and family, and the sense of accomplishment from meeting each requirement have made it worthwhile,” Liam said.
Earning 34 merit badges, Liam said the toughest badges to earn were Hiking, which requires a 20-mile continuous hike, and Back Packing, which includes planning and participating in three three-day backpacking treks and one five-day trek covering at least 15 and 30 miles respectively.
It may have been tough, but earning the esteemed Hiking badge turned out to be a Scouting career highlight for Liam.
“Another high point was definitely the completion of the Perimeter Trail, a 22-mile hike in Sewanee that my father and I did together. It was the last task I needed to do to earn my final required merit badge before I sat for my Eagle Board of Review,” Liam said.
However, Liam feels his Eagle Scout project is probably his biggest Scouting accomplishment. Liam raised the funds, then designed and built three separate feeding houses for the red wolf habitat at Reflection Riding. He worked with the staff to design a structure that would keep the wolves’ food dry and keep wild animals out, but provide easy access for staff without them having to enter the wolves’ enclosure.
During this 80-hour project, Liam learned that the red wolf is one of the most endangered species in the United States, with an estimated wild population of only 25. Reflection Riding is a participant in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan and has a captive breeding and education facility that is designed with the hope of ensuring the long-term survival and security of the species.
Liam is also on the varsity rock climbing and varsity mountain bike teams at McCallie. Liam is thinking about a degree in environmental studies, perhaps concentrating on conservation, ecology or forestry.
“All of the skills and knowledge I gained will serve me for the rest of my life and help me to make a positive impact on the community,” Liam said, serving up the mission of this esteemed organization succinctly.
by Ferris Robinson