Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Only about 3 percent of the boys who join the Boy Scout program go on to become Eagle Scouts, its highest rank. Since 1980, when Bill Liedman became Scoutmaster of North Star Council Troop 357, seven boys have joined that prestigious group. This year, Jonathan Green became the eighth. Jon joined Scouting when he was 11 years old. "When you work up through the ranks, you are a learner." Bill Liedman says. "Beginning with the Star Rank, you go into leadership." When he earned Life Rank, the second highest level, Jon had a choice to make, one with a timeline. Could he take that final step? If he did choose to go ahead, he had to keep in mind that all requirements necessary to apply for Eagle Scout had to be completed before his 18th birthday in February. He also had to keep in mind that the road to the top was a journey lined with strict rules and procedures that had to be followed. "To be an Eagle Scout takes lots of perseverance," Liedman says. "Jon was a pretty good candidate all along. He was one of my finest Scouts, always willing to help. If he couldn't do something, he would explain why he couldn't." Once he'd made the decision to go ahead, Jon had to choose a service project, a requirement that demonstrates leadership skills. It didn't have to be a never-been-done-before project, yet it could be. There were no requirements as to size either. The all-important consideration was that it had to benefit a religious entity, the school, or the community in which he lives, and it had to demonstrate leadership in all of the project's phases, from selection, to planning, to completion. Jon chose to help the Kimball Food Shelf by providing a number of its families with a complete holiday meal. He called it Operation: Christmas Basket. As a means of recording every detail of his project, he was given the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook. Before he could move ahead, however, he had to get written approval from the food shelf, his Scoutmaster, the unit committee, and the council or district advancement committee. In the workbook he was required to keep, Jon detailed things like all of the time he spent, the materials he needed, changes to the plan and why they were needed. He was not allowed to donate his own money; he had to find donors. Towards that end, he sent letters to service groups and churches asking for money to support the project, and he placed donor buckets all over Kimball. He completed the projected in time to distribute baskets to the families Dec. 17.
Jon then wrote thank you letters to those who had helped. In the letter to the largest donor, Jon expressed his thanks for their generous help. He went on to say, "My pursuit of achieving the Eagle Scout rank and everything it stands for is very important to me. Without your immeasurable act of kindness my goal of reaching the Eagle Scout rank would not be in my grasp, and for that I cannot verbalize my sincere appreciation enough." In true leadership fashion, Jon stepped back and shined the limelight not on himself but on the results, the families helped through the food shelf. Jon then followed established procedure and made application for the Eagle Scout rank. With it, he sent the workbook, as prescribed, then waited to learn if it had been properly verified. If so, he would soon sit before his board of review. On March 4, 2008, Jonathan Green sat before a panel comprised of Karl Nordberg, Crow River District Advancement Representative, Charles Denn, Eagle Scout, Scott Lexvold, Local Committee Representative, Henry Loebertmann, Local Committee Chairman, and John Kuseske, Local Committee Representative. No member of the panel could be the candidate's Scoutmaster or a family member, however, the Scoutmaster is permitted to attend in a non-participatory role. "In his review, Jon showed poise and had good answers," Liedman says. Jon has one more wait, this time from the BSA's national office on his Eagle Scout confirmation. When he gets that verification, Jon and his Scoutmaster will plan an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, an impressive ceremony in which he'll receive the award his dedication and commitment have earned. He'll then be eligible to join the elite organization begun in 1972, the National Eagle Scout Association. Eagle Scouts from Troop 357 include Soren Mattick, 1990; Jesse Liedman, 1991; Thor Mattick, 1991; Chris Liedman, 1995; Rick Stanz, 1999; Matt Gannon, 2000; and Erick Thompson, 2002. National figures who earned Eagle Scout Rank include James Lovell, Apollo astronaut; Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States; and Harrison Salisbury, Pulitzer Prize-winning author.