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Paynesville Press - April 12, 2006

Eagle Scout awarded by local troop

By Addi Larson

Joshua Stern, 17, became Paynesville's newest Eagle Scout on Sunday, April 2. The Court of Honor ceremony was held at Paynesville Lutheran Church, inducting Stern as Paynesville's 31st Eagle Scout.

Joshua Stern He earned 22 merit badges, exceeding the required 21, to become the first in his family to receive the Boy Scouts' highest honor. His merit badges included: Camping; Citizenship in Community; Citizenship in Nation; Citizenship in World; Communications; Emergency Preparedness; and Environmental Science.

Stern joined the Paynesville troop as a Bear Cub in the third grade following his first two years as a Tiger and Wolf Cub in Belgrade. He watched other boys continue in scouting over the years, inspiring him to do the same. "About three or four other boys, when I was in Boy Scouts, became an Eagle Scout," Stern said.

Now a junior, Stern has been home-schooled in Belgrade since the second grade. His family moved from Phoenix, Ariz., when he was two. Eleven years with the scouts have served him to "get to know people, make new friends, and get to see new places," he said.

His troop traveled as far as Washington, D.C., and Virginia last July where they participated in the National Scout Jamboree with over 30,000 other Boy Scouts. The ten-day event was held on 3,000 acres of land at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, 50 miles south of D.C.

Daily activities included archery, a "bikathlon", buckskin games, conservation programs, kayaking, rafting, and scuba training. The experience reflected the skills of scouting, national heritage, physical fitness, environmental conservation, and the true sprit of scouting. President George W. Bush addressed the National Jamboree attendees.

New park Stern also attends annual camping trips to Camp Cuyuna - located north of Brainerd - in the summer and to Camp Ripley in Little Falls each April. Disheartened, last summer was the first time he missed the week-long Cuyuna Scout Camp, due to a broken arm.

Ripley Rendezvous, a three-day extreme adventure camp, joined seven teams to compete in hurdles, military training routines, obstacles, and orienteering. Stern's team won last year's competition. Stern said, "you have to navigate through woods," and jokingly recalled, "they count how many numbers of tics you could collect." He had the most.

For his Eagle Scout project, Josh Stern organized improvements at the community park in Belgrade, where he lives.

His parents, Eileen and Jack Stern, and older siblings, John and Mariah Stern, supported the efforts for his Eagle Scout project. Stern coordinated six scouts and their parents to rebuild the community park in Belgrade. The group disassembled and stained the wood fence, reconstructing it in its original location. They painted the shelter's interior and 16 picnic tables.

Donations for the project included a $300 contribution by the Belgrade Lions Club, $150 from the city of Belgrade, and $150 from the Belgrade VFW. Upon completion, Stern sent his project portfolio for approval and was then interviewed by the Eagle Scout board in St. Cloud.

Eileen Stern said she is proud of her son's accomplishment and beamed while explaining that she has all of his scouting shirts and badges saved as keepsakes. She said he will be able to use his lifesaving skills when needed, reflecting his pledge of the scout oath, "On my honor, I'll do my best."

Earning the Eagle Scout award has made Stern even more prepared for everyday living. "I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could do it," he said. It is a challenge he has completed, and an honor he will always hold.

Paynesville's Eagle Scouts include: Craig Brinkman, Paul Brunik, Steve Dosdall, David Easterday, Troy Gerding, James Gilk, Steve Gilk, Scott Ingalsbe, Mike Klein, Joe Lingl, Leo Louis, Ryan Louis, Casey Meagher, Jon Millner, Jared Morris, Scott Morris, Bobby O'Fallon, Mike Putzke, Randy Schaefer, Russ Schaefer, David Scheierl, Jon Scheierl, Jeff Skrypek, Stern, Gary Wagner, Dan Welter, Larry Wendroth, Loren Wendroth, Lyle Wendroth, Tyler Wendroth, and Eric Werlinger.

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