As a 19-year-old Eagle Scout, Landon Lemons has explored many trails during his 14 years of scouting.
He’s also a trailblazer in different sense.
Lemons, who became an Eagle Scout two years ago, is believed to be just the second African-American from Tipton County to achieve the distinction.
Bill McClain, a district advancement chairman with the Boy Scouts who has been involved in hundreds of Eagle Scout ceremonies over the years, said Joshua Gordon, a Munford resident who became an Eagle Scout six years ago, is the only other.
“Oh yeah, it’s very important because I could have been doing anything,” Lemons said. “I feel like Boy Scouts definitely kept me on track. Knowing that I’m a minority, and there are very few, and that I went through it all and I’ve made it makes me feel very accomplished towards other Boy Scouts. Not just Boy Scouts, to be more specific, more blacks, more African-Americans that are involved in Boy Scouts. I hope that me passing through will encourage others to do the same.”
Lemons was honored for his achievement last month during a ceremony at First United Methodist Church in Covington.
The Boy Scouts of America began in 1910 and chapters have been in Tipton County for nearly that long. McClain said just 3.6 percent of children who start scouting achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. The scouts do not classify participants by race so minority numbers are not known, but it’s safe to say, particularly in this area, there are not many.
“It’s a he-said, she-said kind of thing,” Lemons said when asked why not very many minorities take part in scouting. “It’s like, ‘Oh, they wear short shorts, tie knots and sleep outdoors … and the mosquitoes.’ It’s like a generation now that’s not mixing.”
He did say, however, that things are slowly changing. Lemons still takes part in scouting activities several times a month and has noticed more African-Americans and other minorities participating.
“There are some, not many,” he said. “It has grown through the years. I’m seeing a lot more diversity, which is great.”
Lemons has been a part of Brighton Troop 260 since his mother took him to scouting as a small child. He still attends the troop meetings on most Monday, although he works full-time at Ingram Micro in Millington.
“You do not stop just because you make Eagle Scout,” he said. “You have a responsibility to help those others come up behind you.”
He finished his freshman year at Middle Tennessee State University last month and had planned on becoming a physical therapist. Now he has plans to become an electrician.
Whatever he does, Lemons knows scouting and scouts will always be a part of his life.
“I don’t just have friends in the troops,” he said. “I have brothers I can call any time.”
For more about the Boy Scouts and joining, see wtacbsa.org.