By Chris Hagan
Review Staff Writer
Andrew DeBaker has spent nearly 10 years with the Boy Scouts of America. This past year, he was Senior Patrol Leader at Lake Orion’s St. Joseph Troop 186.
He’s gone on camping excursions, canoe trips where he’s had to portage from lake to lake, and participated in multiple community outreach projects.
Now, the 16-year-old Oxford resident just completed his leadership project in hopes of earning the highest ranking achievement in the Boy Scout Program – Eagle Scout.
DeBaker spent the duration of the summer planning, organizing and coordinating a new brick pathway at the Wildwood Amphitheater in Orion Township.
Under the direction of his Scout Master and working with Parks Director Aaron Whatley, DeBaker enlisted the help of more than 20 volunteers to help layout the 115-foot brick pathway.
“For me, I had no idea of what I was doing with slag, brick pavers, and getting concrete to look neat. I didn’t know any of that,” he said. “It was difficult at first, but it worked out well and I’m happy that Aaron also offered me the project.”
The junior at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s school took up a pop can collection and other fundraisers as part of the leadership project to fund a portion of the project.
Orion Township picked up the tab for the brick pavers, but DeBaker used the fundraiser money to purchase cement, plastic edge rails, food for volunteers and miscellaneous equipment.
He became almost like a project manager and delegated tasks, all of which are reflected in the eagle scouts’ leadership program. The six-foot-wide pathway extends from the parking lot to the new bathroom kiosk at the hilltop of Wildwood.
“He took up a difficult project but he was able to work through it and see it through,” Whatley said.
Now that the project is complete, DeBaker has to send in reference letters and go before an eagle board of review, where his entire career in the scouts will be put under the microscope. According to the National Eagle Scout Association, only about five percent of all Boy Scouts go on to earn an eagle scout ranking.
Despite the statistics, DeBaker is still hopeful, regardless of the outcome, saying that if he doesn’t get it the first time, he’ll adjust some things and try again.
“They look at everything: your eagle project, your merit badge record. It’s basically like the final analysis of what you’ve done and they decide if you’re worthy of being an eagle scout or not,” DeBaker said.
“But I’ve known people who have gotten it, and those who haven’t and you have to change some things and reapply.”
By Chris Hagan