by Marlys Kruger
ELK MOUND — After nine years of being actively involved in Boy Scout Troop 71 based out of Elk Mound, Andrew Benson, a sophomore from Elk Mound High School has completed a project that will lead to him reaching the Eagle Scout rank which is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program.
Benson’s project was to build a hood for the backstop on the baseball field at the Lion’s Park which will stop foul balls from going over the backstop and hitting spectators. The idea came to him when he was involved with youth baseball and actually hit a spectator when a foul ball went over the fencing. As soon as he was able to begin planning on an Eagle Scout project, he approached the village about working on the backstop.
“The Eagle Scout Service project has certain guidelines that have to be followed,” Benson said. “I began with the first step, which was to propose the project which involved getting in touch with the beneficiary, and in my case, the contractor. After the proposal was approved, I had to begin fundraising, which went much easier then I thought it would. It just goes to show you that when assistance is needed, there is always someone near who is willing to help. While I was fundraising, I had to get the specifics and details of the project set. Once I had enough to complete the project, I double checked with the fencing company (Hayworth Fencing Co,) to make sure the time and date to do the job would work out for all of us. Now I have to do a review and final paper work to confirm what was done.”
Benson was helped by the community as a whole and the Village of Elk Mound, completing the work on August 26 after getting the approval 14 months ago. Although the physical project is complete, Benson needs to complete the paperwork, earn two more Merit Badges and present the project to a Board of Review and at a Scout Master Conference before he is named an Eagle Scout. He intends to finish this sometime in the next year and will be honored at a ceremony.
He has been involved with other community service projects through scouting and school, such as helping with two other Eagle projects in Elk Mound and working on the Mound Hill trails and the educational trails near Moundview Elementary School. He also helped establish a day camp location known as the Brunswick property. Besides that, he is a three sport athlete, competing in football, power lifting and track for Elk Mound, is a straight A student and is on several committees at Camp Phillips.
This 15 year old certainly exemplifies the true meaning of scouting by displaying traits such as honor, being trustworthy and reliable and being a good leader.
“Scouting is not something you can simply stop or continue,” he said. “Scouting is a way of living life and I will always be a scout and be active with the scouting community and family,” he stated.