By Starrla Cray
MONTROSE, DELANO, MN With disarming smiles and energetic attitudes, Delano High School seniors Jon and Josh Wedemeier of Montrose seem to supply an endless stream of enthusiasm to every project they pursue.
“When something needs to get done, we’re both more than willing to do it,” Jon said.
The 18-year-old twins recently earned Eagle Scout status, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America program.
For their Eagle Scout leadership service project, the Wedemeiers chose projects serving St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Delano.
“They both saw a need here in the church and moved to fulfill it,” Pastor Dick Flynn said. “I’m so pleased that they’re part of our congregation,”
Jon did a complete inventory of cemetery records, and Josh’s project involved detailed documentation of the church’s property.
“What better way to get it done than through an Eagle project?” Josh said.
They started the tasks about a year ago, and clocked a combined total of more than 350 hours, counting their own time and that of helpers they organized.
“We wanted to make sure it got done right,” Jon said. “Time really wasn’t an object for us.”
“It’s about showing leadership,” Josh added.
According to Flynn, the work the Wedemeiers did was “monumental.”
Jon’s inventory of cemetery records dates back to the late 1800s.
“We had records kind of everywhere, in boxes and folders,” Flynn said.
Using inexpensive software, Jon organized the data and created a book with alphabetical listings and maps of the cemetery.
The information is available online at http://4214.webmedley2.com.
Visitors are also welcome to use a cemetery map located in a metal box at the cemetery.
“To have good record keeping of people’s loved ones is so important,” Flynn said. “People can search through that if they’re working on genealogy.”
More than 350 people are buried at the church’s cemetery, and there are another 200 open spaces.
“Jon made sure all the spellings and dates were correct,” Flynn said.
There were one or two setbacks such as tombstones that were unreadable or didn’t line up with records but the project went really well overall, Jon said.
“There are a lot of very old tombstones out there,” Josh commented.
Josh’s project also required a great deal of patience and perseverance. He organized groups of adults and youth who took inventory of every item in the church for insurance and record-keeping purposes.
“They went through every closet,” Flynn said. “It was quite remarkable.”
Josh’s book includes information about who donated the item (or where it was purchased), the approximate value, and other pertinent information.
“I think there are 500 pages in the book,” Flynn said.
The only difficulty Josh encountered was an unexpected computer crash, but “it went about as smooth as it could get,” he said.
Funding for the projects came from donations after Jon and Josh’s biological father, Jeffrey Wedemeier, passed away in July.
Although Josh and Jon had separate projects, they did a lot of the work together.
“They get along really well,” Flynn said, adding that the twins have the same sense of humor and are involved in similar activities.
Jon and Josh said that being in Boy Scouts has made for many fun memories.
One highlight was a trip to SeaBase, located 75 miles south of Miami in the Florida Keys.
“There were cinnamon rolls the size of a dinner plate,” Josh said.
Another advantage of becoming an Eagle Scout is employment opportunities. Josh said he got a job offer without even having an interview.
“When they found out I was an Eagle Scout, I was hired on the spot,” he said.
Working toward an Eagle Scout rank isn’t easy, however.
Many of Jon and Josh’s friends dropped out of Boy Scouts because it was hard to balance it with school, sports, and other activities.
“A lot of people don’t have the energy to go to a scout meeting after a full workout,” Josh said.
But Jon and Josh were encouraged by their parents, Greg and Patty Youmans, to stick with it.
“It’s something we’ve been working toward our whole lives,” Josh said.
The twins also display determination on their high school track and cross country teams.
“They’re both pretty competitive,” Flynn said. “They just don’t like being passed up on the track.”
Josh and Jon are hoping to go to college next year on track/cross country scholarships. They have a few offers, but haven’t finalized any plans yet.
“Either we’ll be at the same school and be on a team together, or we’ll go to different schools and be competition for each other,” Josh said.
The twins are keeping their career paths open, too.
“We have high hopes for the future,” Josh said.
Josh enjoys working with wood and might go into carpentry or drafting, and Jon is interested in sports training.
Some people have trouble telling the twins apart, but Flynn said they definitely have their own personalities.
“I am more outgoing,” Jon said.
“We’re both involved in a lot of the same activities, but he’s the crazy one,” Josh laughed. “I usually tend to stay more reserved.”
To learn more about Eagle Scouts, go to www.scouting.org/about/factsheets/eaglescouts.