By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN Sixteen-year-old Brian Janus isn’t the first person in his family to achieve the highest ranking in Boy Scouts, but he is the youngest.
Brian’s father (Steve) and brother (Brad) were both 17 when they became Eagle Scouts, which is on par with the national average.
“I wanted to beat my brother,” Brian quipped.
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout isn’t easy at any age, and only about 7 percent of all Boy Scouts make it.
“I would say the hardest part was getting the merit badges,” said Brian, a sophomore at Holy Trinity High School in Winsted. “That definitely took the longest time.”
A total of 21 merit badges are required, demonstrating skill in categories like first aid, citizenship, communication, cooking, personal fitness, and emergency preparedness.
Building and staining
Another time-consuming part of becoming an Eagle Scout is planning, developing, and leading a service project.
Brian began his project (restoration of the wooden furniture/staircases outside of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Winsted) in the fall of 2012. The idea came to him one Sunday as he and his family were heading home from worship.
“I noticed that the stain was peeling off, and some of the wood was rotting out,” he said.
After Brian obtained permission from Father Tony Stubeda, he began planning the improvements. First, he organized a fundraiser (selling desserts in the church basement) to pay for the cost of stain, wood, brushes, and other needed supplies. He then purchased $160 worth of materials, and coordinated a meeting time with fellow scouts.
Together, they constructed two new benches and a new railing for the staircase.
In the spring of 2013, Brian scheduled a workday for the group to stain two staircases, two benches, and a railed walkway.
“It took the entire day,” Brian said.
Headed for the Navy
In addition to being part of Hutchinson Boy Scout Troop 246, Brian is a member of Holy Trinity/Lester Prairie trapshooting team, and works part time at Ace Hardware in Hutchinson.
“My dad said [Scouting] would be a great experience, and he encouraged me to keep going with it,” Brian said, adding that he’s glad he followed his dad’s advice.
During Boy Scout meetings, which take place every Monday, Brian enjoys being a role model for younger Scouts.
“Scouts get more responsibility as they get older and higher ranking,” he said, adding that as an Eagle Scout, “a lot of people look up to you, and you definitely become more of a leader.”
Eagle Scouts are highly regarded in the military, as well. Brian’s father had been a Navy airplane mechanic, and Brian plans to join the Navy after high school.
“I’d like to become a pilot for the Navy someday,” he said.