Nebraska quadruplets building toward top Scouting rank

Nebraska quadruplets building toward top Scouting rank (Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office/MGN)

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Ben, Elijah, Aaron and Ethan Kelley are hoping to accomplish a rare feat.

Each is striving to earn the Eagle Scout rank.

It would be a big accomplishment as only about 4 percent of Boy Scouts earn the organization’s highest rank. What would make that achievement for them even more rare and special is that they would be reaching that honor as quadruplets.

The 16-year-old brothers are members of Troop 114 and want to all become Eagle Scouts so they can take part in the award ceremony together, The Grand Island Independent reported.

Only one of the four has a firm idea for his Eagle Scout project. Ben is planning on creating a picnic area with pavers and tables at CHI Health St. Francis. His brothers are still thinking about what service project — a requirement to earn the rank — they will undertake.

Scouting is one area the siblings have in common.

Despite sharing the same birthday, April 3, which also happens to be their father’s birthday, and a few hobbies, they couldn’t be more different. They aren’t identical. In fact, they look so unlike each other that some can’t tell they are brothers.

Their parents, Sean and Cindy Kelley, said their sons each have their own personalities, too.

“When they were born we had a Winnie the Pooh theme,” Sean said, adding that the nature of those fictional characters was used to describe their sons.

“Ben was Tigger because he was such an extrovert. Elijah was Pooh Bear because he was a mama’s boy. Aaron was Rabbit because he was the first one to do everything and hit milestones. Ethan was the anti-Eeyore because he was always happy and smiling,” Sean said.

Those characteristics have mostly held true as they have grown and are now juniors at Northwest High School.

Developing their own identities has been important to the siblings and to their parents.

Having multiples wasn’t a surprise to the Kelleys because twins run in Cindy’s family. Quadruplets, though, was a shock.

They didn’t know Cindy was carrying four at once until she was 14 weeks pregnant. At 33 1/2 weeks, the brothers were born. Within two weeks, all were healthy and at home.

The family lived in Seward at the time and had a lot of help and support from the community during those first few months. In 2005 when the quadruplets were 3 years old, the Kelleys moved to Grand Island.

Though they do have their differences, Scouting has remained a constant connection for the brothers.

They have been involved in the organization since signing up in first or second grade and have risen up the ranks together. They said there is no competition between them to see who can earn the most merit badges. Having each other there to support one another does help their individual quests to become Eagle Scouts.

Scouting, they said, has taught them valuable lessons, such as respect, life skills and to always practice kindness.

They have until the age of 18 to earn the needed merit badges and complete their service projects to meet the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank.

Ethan said hopes are they will be able to celebrate each one reaching that honor and will take part in an Eagle Scout ceremony at the same time.

Elijah said achieving that goal will give him a sense of accomplishment.

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