Janesville40.9°

Eagle Scouts invest big money in local projects

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Dan Plutchak
May 5, 2010
— In times of tight budgets, organizations from schools to churches are looking for ways to make improvements that will save them some money.

Through the efforts of local Boy Scouts, the donation of time and money for some of these projects is just one way they support the community.


First Lutheran's Troop 405 has advanced nine scouts to the rank of Eagle in the past year, and the value of projects required for the scouts to become eagles run into the thousands of dollars.


Hayden Simonis, a senior at Parker High School, is the most recent scout from the troop to become an Eagle.


With help from his parents, Robert and Kimberly Simonis, donations from local businesses and volunteer time from fellow scout members, Simonis re-landscaped the interior courtyard at Parker.


Old shrubs, plantings and decorate stones were removed, and new landscaping was added.


A project of this magnitude is no easy task to accomplish, said Troop 405 Scout Master Steve Shulta.


"There's a lot that goes into it," Shulta said. "Planning can go on for more than a year."


First, the scout must get approval from a troop committee for the project which must benefit a community group other than scouting.


Then, the scout must present it to the organization he hopes to help, followed by fundraising and coordinating volunteer help for the project work day.


"Each project is different," Shulta said.


The projects are funded from a variety of sources. Troop 405 is unique in that it has a fund that provides $100 seed money for the project.


The Eagle Fund was started by the family of John Bladorn in memory his wife, Marguerite, who died in a 2007 car accident shortly after their son, Ryan, completed his eagle project. Along with Ryan's sister, Kendal, the family wanted to do something positive for Janesville, John Bladorn said.


In addition to the Eagle Fund, scouts then get donations from family members, as well as donations of materials from area businesses. Some funding comes from the groups themselves. Add to that the hours of time donated, and the financial impact can be significant.


Other recent Troop 405 Eagle Scouts

John Shulta, a junior at Craig High School, earned the rank of Eagle Scout in December, 2009. His project consisted of new landscaping and other outdoor improvements at First Lutheran Church. Volunteers donated about 120 hours on the project, which had a value of about $1,200. His parents are Steve and Kathy Shulta.


Tanner Harrie, a Craig High School graduate who now attends the University of Wisconsin-Rock County, earned the rank of Eagle Scout in November, 2009. His project consisted of building and installing a 100-foot boardwalk that covered a flooded portion of the Ice Age Trail at Storrs Lake in Milton. Volunteers spent about 230 hours on the project that had a value of approximately $800. His parents are Robert and Lisa Harrie.


Ryan Prestil, a sophomore at Craig High School, earned the rank of Eagle Scout in August, 2009. For his project, he designed, prepared, and constructed two brick walkways around the flagpoles at St. John Vianney Parish. Volunteers donated more than 490 hours of work for the project valued at about $4,000. His parents are Matthew and Jennifer Prestil.


Ryan Teuscher, a sophomore at Craig High School became an Eagle Scout in August, 2009. His project consisted of planting 1,000 pine tree saplings, creating a trail, and fencing in an area at Janesville Schools Outdoor Laboratory. Volunteers spent about 155 hours on the project, with donations paying for all of the materials. His parents are Wayne and Tina Teuscher.


Ben Kitching, a freshman at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., became an Eagle Scout in June 2009. His project consisted of installing a handicapped accessible pathway with a learning center and landscaped the courtyard of Jefferson Elementary School. His parents are John and Amy Kitching.


Tom Kitching, a junior at Craig High School, became an Eagle Scout in June, 2009. His project consisted of painting the interior of St. Paul Lutheran School. It took about a week to complete the project that had a value of more than $1,000. His parents are John and Amy Kitching.


Ben Dorscheid, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, became an Eagle Scout in May, 2009. His project consisted of building 70 bird houses to put on a trail to try to attract and bring back bluebirds to the area. He and a group of volunteers spend more than 170 hours on the project. His parents are Thomas and Kathleen Dorscheid.


Nick Hazekamp, a freshman at Hope College in Holland, Mich., became an Eagle Scout in May, 2009. His project consisted of building a shade structure for the Rotary Gardens Horticultural Center. The work included the clearing and leveling of the land, preparing and pouring the concrete pad and constructing the shelter. He spent about 325 hours on the project, and the cost of materials was more than $3,000. His parents are Jeffrey and Gwendolyn Hazekamp.



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