The Boy Scouts of America boasts more than 4.5 million youth members in the United States, and only 1 percent of Boy Scouts earn the prestigious title of Eagle Scout.

Santa Barbara now can claim two more Eagle Scouts, with Brian Shaw and Max Silva, both 18, awarded the highest rank.

Boy Scout Troop 26 of Santa Barbara held a Court of Honor Ceremony for Shaw and Silva on Tuesday night at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 3942 La Colina Road in Santa Barbara.

“Eagle Scout rank is a culmination of the efforts of both Max and Brian, their parents, fellow Scouts and leaders,” said Mark Shaw, scoutmaster of BSA Troop 26 and father of Brian Shaw. “Achieving the rank of an Eagle Scout is the highest honor that you can earn.”

The achievement by Shaw and Silva positions them alongside other notable Eagle Scouts, such as President Gerald R. Ford and Neil Armstrong.

The Court of Honor Ceremony awards Scouts who have completed the array of tasks required to earn the honor. A Scout must advance through the ranks before age 18 from Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle.

Shaw and Silva joined Troop 26 in 2004 and have embarked on many incredible adventures together, including backpacking in Death Valley, bicycling from Eureka to Santa Cruz, and climbing to the top of Mount Whitney.

During the past seven years, both Scouts have logged more than 1,000 biking miles, 100 nights of camping, 100 community service hours and 700 hiking miles.

“Imagine it’s like hiking from Santa Barbara to Lake Tahoe,” assistant scoutmaster Mark Johnston said.

Johnston said the outings and trips encourage camaraderie to build on the brotherhood of Scouting while experiencing the outdoors and having fun.

To qualify for Eagle Scout, a Scout must be active in a troop for at least six months in a leadership position and demonstrate and live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law of citizenship training, character development and personal fitness. Additionally, Eagle Scout candidates must earn 21 merit badges, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community and Family Life.

“One of the greatest examples that the boys set is how they accomplished their goals within Scouting without giving up their goals outside of Scouting,” Mark Shaw said.

Both boys, now seniors, have maintained a 4.0 grade point average in high school and are active in a range of academic programs and sports.

Silva is a student at Dos Pueblos High School, plays for the DP water polo team and is a member of the DP Engineering Academy. Next year he plans to attend Santa Clara University, where he will play on the water polo team.

“It’s the leadership and organizational skills that I take for granted because I have it from Scouting, and I think everybody should have it,” Silva said. “But it’s not what everybody has.”

Brian Shaw attends San Marcos High School, where he has earned varsity letters in football, soccer and track. He has been accepted to the University of Michigan’s aerospace engineering program for the fall semester and is committed to the Air Force ROTC program.

“Everybody’s different, and so you have to adapt to be an effective leader,” Shaw said. “And, with the six years that I’ve been in a leadership position, I’ve learned to cope and adapt to different situations.”

An Eagle Leadership Service Project is also required to demonstrate constructive and meaningful contributions to the community. Silva’s leadership project consisted of redesigning and reconstructing the lunchtime area for students at Monte Vista School, and Shaw’s project was to repave the parking lot at St. Mark United Methodist Church.

“Everything in Boy Scouting is reward-based,” Johnston said. “Good deeds make you feel good for helping others.”

The Eagle Scout award is granted by the National Eagle Scout Association upon the recommendation of a committee of Distinguished Eagle Scouts.

“Brian and Max entered Troop 26 as ordinary 11-year-old boys,” Johnston said, “and seven years later are leaving Troop 26 as extraordinary young men and Eagle Scouts.”

Noozhawk contributing writer Melissa Walker can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews, and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.