from The Pontotoc Progress
PONTOTOC – Three years ago, at 14, Boy Scout T.J. Clayton III completed a 70-mile, seven-day hike through the Appalachian Mountains with his father and grandfather.
Sans cell phone, with packaged military meals for food, completing the mountain trek was a mark of the character and determination that has carried Clayton to some of the highest awards in Scouting.
“I like the discipline” of Scouting, Clayton said.
Clayton's discipine has led him to the Eagle Scout Award; the God and Me, God and Family and God and Country awards; Bronze, Silver and Gold Eagle Palm awards; the Den Chief Service Award, the Arrow of Light and the Order of the Arrow.
Now a junior in high school, Clayton discovered his love for Scouting at 7, when he went with his Scout leader dad T.J. II on camping trips in Lafayette County. Both parents encouraged him in the pursuit of merit badges, and his mother Teresa received the Mother's Eagle Pin when Clayton achieved Eagle Scout.
Clayton's dedication and achievements earned high praise from attorney Grant Fox, a member of the area Scouting executive board.
“He exemplifies what Scouting is all about,” Fox said. “He is a young man of extremely high character who has reached the pinnacle of Scouting.”
Clayton has also worked at Camp Yocona for two summers, and found that his Scouting skills helped him at summer church camp in Tennessee.
His canoeing skills helped him win a kayak race at Doe River Gorge, and he was the only attendee of 400 who could use a compass and map to find a predetermined point.
“Everyone wanted him on their team from then on,” T.J. Clayton II said.
Clayton is the grandson of Truett and Selma Clayton, Wayne Robbins and the late Phyllis Robbins Skelton.