Making do after forgetting batteries to recharge his cordless drill, Scout Josh Schindler, left, works with fellow Scout Russ Baker, center, and Russell Baker, Scout Troop 973 committee member, using antique hand drills to build podiums for Young Americans Christian School as part of his Eagle Scout project.
CONYERS -- While on a Boy Scout camping expedition as a 13-year-old, Joshua Schindler, who had been somewhat reluctant about such adventures, decided that instead of sleeping in a warm cozy tent, he would rather sleep out in the open in a hammock, despite fog, rain and cool temperatures on the mountaintop.
That's the campout where it "clicked," said his dad Andrew Schindler.
"He got comfortable enough he felt he could do anything," said Schindler.
Joshua recently joined his father, brother Zachary, paternal grandfather Roger Schindler and maternal grandfather James Glenn in earning his Eagle Scout status.
Three generations of Eagle Scouts in one family is unusual, Andrew Schindler said.
"It's fairly rare and unique," Schindler said.
Glenn, 81, a resident of Texas, earned his Eagle Scout status in 1945, before the Scouts required projects for completion of the rank, as did Roger Schindler, 74, a resident of South Carolina, who became an Eagle Scout in 1955.
Glenn said scouting gave him confidence and strengthened his faith in God. Building friendships with other Scouts and his troop leaders made him a more successful individual.
"Scouting is one of the best ways for a young boy or young man to learn about nature, human characteristics and just getting along with other people," Glenn said.
Andrew Schindler, who lives in Oxford, said he grew up admiring a banner and a shadow box that contained patches and Scout medals earned by his father.
As a member of a troop in Fairport, N.Y., Andrew Schindler said he enjoyed the outdoor activities, especially those that not many other boys had an opportunity to experience, like backpacking in the mountains and whitewater rafting.
"I got to use an ax. For a little guy, that's huge," Schindler said.
Schindler said situations that boys might encounter on such outings build character and responsibility. For example, during a camping trip, when the boys are done with their dinner and they decide to go play instead of washing their dishes, the next meal they have will be eaten on a dirty dish.
"A little healthy neglect brings maturity in a hurry," Schindler said.
Schindler, 48, earned the Eagle Scout honor in 1980 when he built picnic tables and benches for a group home.
Schindler's sons Zachary, 19, and a sophomore at Mercer University, and Joshua, 16, a junior at Young Americans Christian School, both earned their Eagle Scout rank through Troop 973, which meets at First Baptist Church of Conyers.
Zachary's Eagle Scout project entailed constructing an outdoor amphitheater at First Baptist; Joshua built 12 podiums for Young Americans to earn his Eagle rank.
Their father said the boys' experiences in the field required them to be in charge of their peers, and they learned how to resolve conflict and motivate others effectively.
"One of the strongest things about Scouts is it puts them into leadership early and often, and there's nothing harder than leading your peers," said Schindler.
Ultimately, Schindler said, scouting provides a healthy self-image for the boys.
"Not everyone will be the class president, but they can develop a quiet confidence that allows them to lead no matter what their personality type," Schindler said.