Cline and Schmelzer earn Eagle Scout status

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Clayton Ridge students, from left, Beau Cline and Vincent Schmelzer have recently completed the process to become Eagle Scouts. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Two dedicated young men, seniors at Clayton Ridge High School, have reached the highest achievement attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program. 

Beau Cline, son of Darcy and Shane Cline, and Vincent "Vinny" Schmelzer, son of Erin and Mike Schmelzer, have earned this status.   

The Eagle Scout designation was established over 100 years ago. This coveted achievement is granted after a lengthy review process. Only four percent of Boy Scouts participating in the program reach the rank of Eagle Scout.

Achievement of this status begins with active membership in the Boy Scouts program. 

Cline explained the process involved in becoming an Eagle Scout. "It's best to start in the Scouting program when you are young — then you will have plenty of time to complete all the requirements. You can start the process for achieving your Eagle Scout at age 14. The requirements must be completed before your 18th birthday," he said.

Earning the rank of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life precedes the Eagle Scout process. 

An Eagle Scout must earn a minimum of 21 total merit badges, including 13 required merit badges, which are: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Cooking, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, Environmental Science or Sustainability, Personal Management, Swimming or Hiking or Cycling, Camping, and Family Life. 

Cline project

Cline reported, "I worked on my Eagle project for a year and a half. There is an incredible amount of paperwork involved in the process. The Boy Scout administration has very strict standards that have to be upheld. The preliminary layout of the project is just as important as the project itself." 

Cline commented, "With the assistance of approximately 10-12 people, we improved the existing Legacy Trail that runs along the outside of the Guttenberg Golf Course along the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. My project included overseeing clearing of sections of the path and the purchase of a bench made of recycled plastic that was placed in a picturesque overlook we created by cutting away brush with  hand-held sickles. Signage was also purchased and placed at the entrance to the trail and along the route for directional assistance." 

Cline said, "I had to raise money for my project for the purchase of the bench, signs and posts. I had a fundraiser in addition to going to local businesses requesting donations. The Legacy Trail Management will maintain the trail with mowing as needed."

Schmelzer project

Schmelzer chose a project involving the St. Joseph Cemetery in Garnavillo. 

Schmelzer told The Press, "My interest in the program came later than most Scouts.  Despite my late entry, I was still able to fulfill the requirements to begin my Eagle project. Scouting was a real transformation for me. I was super shy and didn't talk to many people. Scouting opened me up and gave me the leadership qualities I desired that I didn't have before."

Schmelzer commented, "Once you choose a project and submit your proposal, the project is evaluated. They look at things like safety and feasibility. They consider the steps it will take to complete the project, and whether the project is one that will give the Scout a positive experience." 

Schmelzer said, "I had nine people assisting  me with the removal of aging fence posts and stabilizing and leveling off the ground in the ditch adjacent to the entrance of the cemetery. We laid 250-feet of four- inch perforated tile line and placed 30 tons of quarter-inch washed rock on top of the tile. We finished off with a layer  of dirt, leveled it off and seeded it with grass. The finished project created a more appealing entrance and improved the ground for easier mowing." 

Additional requirements

Gathering references from a teacher, parent, Scoutmaster, two general character references and an educational and religious  reference all add to the Eagle requirements. The final step to achieving success is to prepare for the special Eagle Scout Board of Review. This board is made up of the Scout troop leaders and a representative from the Scouting council.

Both young men commented, "This is a great way to prepare for future job interviews. The process is very similar. You better be paying attention and have your paperwork completed perfectly. They are going to ask you some tough questions." 

The two went on to say, "Scouting has been a really great experience. It is a great way to make friends. We both like to fish, camp, kayak, and hike anyway; it's great to participate as a group." 

"Travel opportunities to New Mexico, the Florida Keys and the Northern Tier in Minnesota to camp in the winter have all added to my experience," said Cline.

Schmelzer commented, "Recruiters told me that my Eagle Scout Award was what set me apart from other applicants when I was taken into consideration for Officer School with the Air Force." 

Schmelzer's plans after graduation include studies at either Iowa or Iowa State as a Cadet in the university's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment. 

Cline's future plans include attending Iowa State for secondary education in history. 

Best of luck Scouts!

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