By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN As a Boy Scout, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is quite an honor. It is now an honor Dassel-Cokato senior Stephen Hansen can be proud to have accomplished.
Less than 2 percent of the nation’s Boy Scouts will actually receive the rank of Eagle Scout, according to Dassel-Cokato Troop 253 Scoutmaster Tim Steuck.
Stephen, the son of John and Ruthann Hansen of Dassel, was recognized during a ceremony Dec. 20 at St. John’s Education Center, where the troop meets.
There, Jon Ring spoke on Stephen’s behalf and his church’s priest, Father John Pearson, gave a benediction. Hansen also shared what becoming an Eagle Scout means to him.
He spoke of his leadership building, persevering through hard times, and his love for Scouting.
“Love (for Scouting) is an important thing to have, if you want to achieve Eagle Scout rank,” Hansen said.
“I’m very proud of Stephen and his service project,” Steuck said, also mentioning Stephen’s many leadership positions within the troop.
“He’s a good role model,” Steuck said.
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout, shows the Scout has made a commitment to his church and community, according to Steuck.
“It’s a representation of good character and ethics,” he added.
Hansen began his Scouting career when he was in first grade with Cub Scouts, the precursor to Boy Scouts. It continued with the “Arrow of Light” ceremony in fifth grade for the transition into Boy Scouts.
The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest a Boy Scout can achieve, with six total ranks, Hansen explained.
Requirements for the Eagle Rank is 21 merit badges (10 more than needed for the previous rank of Life Scout).
Merit badges can be achieved in such areas as first aid, personal management, camping, and even family life.
Hansen earned 26 merit badges, along with several elective merit badges for such things as photography, wilderness survival, and archery.
One of the requirements for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is planning, developing, and giving leadership to others in a service project that is helpful to any religious institution, school, or the community.
For this project, Hansen chose to do a service project that would benefit his church community at St. John’s Catholic Church in Darwin. St. John’s is also the charter organization supporting Troop 253, according to Steuck.
When his uncle, Bruce Bonniwell, suggested he consider recovering the church kneelers, Hansen went with it.
The kneelers in the church were in pretty tough shape with the vinyl dried out and worn, according to Hansen. The padding was in good shape and did not need replacing, he added.
The pews were thought to be more than 60 years old.
“No one really knows exactly how old they are,” Hansen said.
The pews were purchased used and were in the previous church for five years before the current church was built in 1964, according to Hansen.
There were 74 kneelers total within the church that Hansen, along with fellow Boy Scouts and his cousins, worked on for two weeks in August.
Before beginning the project, Hansen need to get approval for the planning. With that, he had to determine the cost estimate of the project and where the funding would come from.
Church members donated to the cause after Hansen solicited donations through the church bulletin.
He had originally budgeted $600 for the project that would include 45 yards of new vinyl, staples, trim board, and Watco oil.
But, when Hansen went to the factory fabric outlet, the vinyl was 50 percent off, making the total cost of the project $250 less than originally estimated.
The project took more than 200 hours to complete.
Life after Boy Scouts
Since reaching the rank of Eagle Scout is the highest a Boy Scout can achieve, he can than choose to participate in Scouts by being a Scout leader, which is something Hansen is considering in the future.
Currently, he is attending post-secondary education at Ridgewater College part time, while finishing his senior year at DC.
He plans to go into the field of electrical engineering.
Hansen recommends young boys consider joining Boy Scouts because “it’s a lot of fun.”
As a Boy Scout, one has the opportunity to enjoy activities in the great outdoors, which Hansen appreciated.
Also, being a Scout has shaped his character.
“It’s helped me become a good leader and motivate and teach the younger Scouts,” Hansen said.
Troop 253 meets twice a month, on the second and fourth Monday, at St. John’s Education Center, located between Dassel and Cokato along Highway 12.
If interested in joining or for more information, contact Troop Scoutmaster Tim Steuck at (320) 275-3287.