By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
AINSWORTH ? From the time when he was very young, Dennis Levsen remembers wanting to become an Eagle Scout. He recalls listening to bedtime stories told by his grandfather, a longtime scoutmaster, about the scouts and about the adventures they went on together. He remembers thinking he wanted to be part of that.
When the opportunity came, Levsen didn?t hesitate to join the Scouts. Having served with Boy Scout Troop 235 from Riverside, Iowa for close to seven years, Levsen found himself in the position to become an Eagle Scout. Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. Requirements to become an Eagle Scout take years to fulfill and include earning at least 21 merit badges and completing an extensive service project that the candidate plans, organizes, leads and manages. ?In society it shows you are a hard worker and have the leadership skills,? Levsen said. ?The main focus of scouting is to teach leadership, although it gives many different things. The Eagle Scout project, which is where you show the leadership skills you have learned throughout the years, is where you prove the leadership qualities needed for the Eagle badge.?
Levsen is a Life Scout right now. He said that part of the requirements for some of the Scout ranks he has been through include holding a leadership role for at least six months. He said one of the main goals of scouting is to become an Eagle Scout. He said that he hopes to complete the requirements to become an Eagle Scout before his 18th birthday on June 7.
Having initially hoped to do his service project at the Riverside City Museum, he said that work would not have been enough. he also asked the City of Riverside if there was a project he could do. He received no response from the city. Levsen moved on to ask Washington County conservation director Steve Anderson, who happily encouraged Levsen to help redo a shelter in Marr Park.
The project will include putting a new roof on the shelter, and replacing the old, rotting supports will complete the project. Levsen said the project will be done April 7 and 8.
If the project is completed, Levsen said all he has to do is complete five more merit bardges, do an Eagle board of review and get letters of recommendation.
With his 18th birthday coming up, Levsen said that he plans to continue his work as a Scout.
?I will probably stick around as a junior scoutmaster and help the troop out when needed,? he said. ?After college, I will probably try to be a scoutmaster.?