From an article by Hannah Cyr in the 9/2/16 Weekend Edition of the Shippensburg News-Chronicle.
Completing requirements for an Eagle Scout badge is no small feat. But, Shippensburg teen Joram Culbertson is up for the task. The 16-year-old is working on repairing bridges at Dykeman Springs to earn the highest rank in Boy Scouts.
“It’s all determination. The Scouts gradually help you to do progressively challenging tasks while teaching important leadership skills,” Joram said.
While there are roughly 25 million Boy Scouts in the world, only about 5 percent advance to the Eagle Scout ranking. To earn the rank, a Boy Scout must undergo an extensive process including badge earning, community service, paperwork and patience. To be considered qualified for the rank, all six previous ranks must be earned prior: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second-Class, First-Class, Star, and Life. Twenty-one merit badges must also be earned along with the rankings. A community service project is required by each Boy Scout member hoping to obtain Eagle Scout status, most commonly referred to as the “Eagle Scout Service Project.” A written outline and plan must be given to a Scout leader, a unit committee, the benefiting organization, and a district representative prior to the beginning of the project to confirm the plans.
Joram, the son of John and Amy Culbertson, has spent 10 years in the Scouts and is finally in the process of completing his community service project. He has been spending the past 5 months repairing six bridges at Dykeman Springs. Friends, church members, school friends, family, and other volunteers have been helping him along the way. Joram is a student at CareerTech, and his focus is engineering.
“I’m not really a civil engineer, but my uncle does carpentry and I thought it’d be a good idea,” he said. Joram is “using this opportunity not only to benefit the community and earn my ranking, but to also spend some time with my uncle and learn a new trade.”
The footbridge at Dykeman has been completely replaced as most of the boards were “falling apart, eroded even,” the Scout noted. The boards were stripped and replaced, planks were repaired, and the nails were replaced with screws. The rest of the bridges were not in need of complete remodels, but all railings and damaged boards were replaced, and all nails were replaced with screws. According to Joram, “Painting the bridges is the only thing left and then we’re done.”
What has this experience taught him? “Determination is the main thing. Sure, school does that too, but with school, it’s a little bit- it’s not as long-term. You do a project for one or two weeks and then it’s done whereas in the Scouts, you learn one skill and use it for the rest of your life as tasks keep getting harder.”
He recommends Scouting to other boys and says that Scouting is not as time consuming as it seems- most troops only meet about once a week. The experience is good for younger boys, as it teaches them essential leadership skills, and it is helpful for families as well.
“My family doesn’t really camp and fish, it’s just not something we really do. In the Scouts, they give me the opportunity to go out and try new things I wouldn’t get to do otherwise.”
“To me, Scouting gives me skills and tools I know I’ll need when I get older. The older boys are leaders instead of adults, so it teaches us boys to be followers and leaders at the same time,” he added.
“We’re very pleased that Joram saw through completion of the project,” his parents said.