There has been a flurry of six boys in Vicksburg, attaining their Eagle Scout ranking for Boy Scout Troop 251 in the past three years. From 1937 when the troop was re-chartered, there have been only 41 Vicksburg youth, achieving that rank in over the 71 years. Cody Sherman, Kris Peck, and Tyler Borden received theirs in 2012 and now two in 2014.
Danny Gettle, whose father Dan is one of the involved troop leaders, was granted this highest ranking, along with Alex Cannizzaro, whose mom Annelore also helps with the troop.
To earn the coveted badge there are certain requirements besides just collecting the 21 minimum merit badges. They need to demonstrate leadership, service, and outdoor skills.
Gettle’s project was to build a gateway to the Friends of Vicksburg Youth cabin on Barton Lake. The old one had been falling down and it was apparent someone could get hurt. “I like to build things but the purpose is to organize and lead others, so it was hard not to jump right in and grab a hammer.”
He located someone to donate two trees for the cross pieces of the 2 x 4 x 16 parts of the gate. He got them cut down, milled to the right size posts, went to Big C Lumber in Schoolcraft, explained the need and they donated the pieces to go across the top. Then he organized a work crew to build the new gate and do the lettering. He also worked inside the cabin to replace the fireplace lining which had rusted out, with the help of Gary Davis who donated the steel for the firebox.
For Cannizzaro, who has somewhere over 40 merit badges, the challenge was to remodel the youth room at Vicksburg United Methodist Church, which is the scout’s sponsoring organization. He ordered the paint, got a paint crew of troop members together, and turned the room into a nice shade of yellow. The church’s youth leader Hank Stamm, suggested an added attraction was needed, a platform inside the room where kids could hang out and be together. So Cannizzaro put together a team to build a deck that is sturdy enough to hold plenty of young people.
“It’s a leadership thing. You have to ask for help and it is freely given by others who you will be able to help in the future,” he pointed out.
Both of the new Eagle Scouts say they love being with the close friends they make through scouting. Gettle has been in scouting since the first grade. “It’s so much fun and you learn so much stuff.” He will be attending Grand Valley State University in the fall of 2015.
Cannizzaro, a junior, has participated in lots of extra-curricular activities, such as band, choir, and Showboat. He has been a student at the Kalamazoo Area Science and Math Center (KAMSC) in Kalamazoo since his freshman year in high school.