Local scouts benefit community
BY CHRIS LIEN
Boy Scout Troop 105, chartered by the Mendon Fire Department, has been helping dozens of boys achieve the penultimate goal of earning the Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts over the past several years. This year alone has produced four more Eagle Scouts from Troop 105 with several more in the wings.
The most recent Eagle Scout is Richard Volkman-Lien (pictured at right) who achieved his Eagle rank on October 18, 2016. Volkman-Lien has been involved in Scouting since the first grade when he joined Cub Scouts as a Tiger Cub. Progressing through the ranks, he earned numerous awards including the Super Achiever Award as a WEBELOS, which is an acronym that stands for We’ll Be Loyal Scouts, his Life Saving Merit Badge and BSA Lifeguard Certification, which came in handy this past summer when he served as a life guard at BSA Camp Massawepie in the Adirondacks.
Only 3% of all Boy Scouts are able to achieve the Eagle Scout rank due to its many requirements. In addition to earning 21 merit badges, including 13 specific ones that can take several months to complete, a Scout must also complete an approved Eagle Scout Project. In the case of Volkman-Lien, that meant planting a garden at his local church.
St. Mark Lutheran Church in Mendon had desired to beautify the western side of the church for quite some time. However, it wasn’t until the church purchased the property next door that they were able to be in a position to move forward with their desire to extend the gardens in the front of the church to wrap around the corner and along the western side of the church. Volkman-Lien, seeing an opportunity to put his Scouting leadership skills to use, worked closely with the church council and together they came up with an approved landscaping design.
Since fundraising is an important part of the Eagle Scout Project, Volkman-Lien collected cans and bottles from church members, neighbors, and friends. Cash Cans Recycling in Mendon redeemed the bottles and cans and along with some generous donations, the necessary funds were raised to complete the garden just days prior to Volkman-Lien turning 18; the cutoff date for when a boy is no longer considered a Boy Scout.
In addition to the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America also has a similar rank to Eagle known as the Girl Scout Gold Award. This penultimate rank also requires a project, but in the case of Girl Scouts the project must have some level of sustainability to it. Volkman-Lien’s older sister Victoria earned her Gold Award in 2014 by making “busy bags” for St. Mark Lutheran Church. Busy bags contain coloring books, crayons, and other supplies that young children can use to keep busy while attending worship services. Since the supplies need to be replenished and can be seasonal, the project satisfied the sustainability requirement.
The benefits to the boys and girls that are able to achieve these prestigious award is numerous and can have life changing results. Scholarships are available to the recipients and many employers recognize the leadership training involved in earning these ranks, thus enabling a young man or young lady to progress more quickly through the career ladder. In the case of a military career, earning the Eagle Rank or Gold Award may mean an immediate rank advancement, which means more money and responsibility.
Of course, the youth aren’t the only ones that benefit – the community does as well. Eagle Scout and Gold Award projects can be seen all over Mendon and Honeoye Falls. Some recently completed projects include the Mendon Lehigh Valley Station, the flag pole in Mendon, and expansion of the veteran memorial at the Mendon Cemetery.
Presently, three more Scouts in Troop 105 are working on their Eagle Projects and hope to have them completed soon. Eric Williamson is building a bull pen and on-deck circles for the Mendon baseball fields, Garrett Coddington is enhancing the storage area for the HFL Robotics Team, and Harrison James is finishing his Eagle Project organizing and building shelving in a storage closet for the HFL Robotics Team.
So, the next time you enjoy a walk along a well-groomed trail, pause for a relaxing rest on a nicely built park bench, or picture a beautiful garden setting you may be benefiting from the results of one of our local youths who not only achieved an essential goal in their scouting career, but also gave back to our local community.