Eagle Scout’s project will help warm ice-skaters

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Skaters at the Rushford ice rink will be warmer and more comfortable this winter, thanks to the Eagle Scout project of Merrill Schroeder.

Schroeder’s final project for Eagle Scout certification was the construction of an ice rink warming house for community members to use and enjoy.

Of course the project was more complicated than simply erecting a shack. Once Schroeder came up with the idea, he had to go through numerous planning steps to get the project to fruition.

Schroeder got the ball rolling by presenting plans to City Clerk Kathy Zacher in May, 2018 for the City Council’s approval. He then fundraised to cover all the supplies and tools for the project and insure he had all the right tools, equipment, help, and supplies at the right time.

Schroeder was able to come in under his proposed budget with a large amount of the fundraising money left over due to both materials being on sale and numerous leftover building materials being donated. Butterfield, who was a builder by trade, happily donated the supplies to the project. There were numerous pieces of siding, 2x4’s, rafters, odds and ends, etc., in his shop that were not being used. Schroeder happily came with his helpers and “cleaned up my shop. It helped him at the same time” stated Butterfield regarding the repurposing of the building materials towards the project.

 As required, leftover fundraiser monies were given to the Beneficiary (at the 10/22 Rushford City Council Meeting) for continuing use towards the warming house as the monies were raised for. There are several ideas in place for some of this money to enhance the warming house and its capabilities

As leader of this project, Schroeder stated his biggest challenge “was safety, so no one got hurt, themselves or others”.  He also had to “keep an eye on safety” while coordinating the work and supervision of inexperienced helpers. Part of his Boy Scout Troop consisted of 11- to 12-year olds who had only been in the troop for a few months and lacked any building and tool experience. These younger ones had to be instructed and supervised during their assignments.

Adults were enlisted for work that could be dangerous, such as involving ladders. Schroeder had several adults working under his leadership: Butterfield, his parents (Colin and Crystal Schroeder), Orvin Hanson, Craig Hanson, Lane Johnson, and former Eagle Scout Aaron Munson, to name a few.  Rushford area businesses also showed their support in various ways: Rushford’s American Legion, Micah Hansen State Farm Insurance Office, O’Donnell Wealth Management, Rushford IGA Foods, Brown’s Tire, MiEnergy, and Engelson Accountants.

By the end of July 2018, the warming house was complete. The required Eagle Scout documentation and procedures were wrapped up by the beginning of October 2018.

The result of this completed project was that Schroeder was awarded the highest rank given to a Boy Scout, that of Eagle Scout. It culminated after his seven years of community service, hard work, dedication, and moving up within the ranks.

According to Boy Scout statistics, less than 5% of Boy Scouts achieve this honor. Schroeder’s Scoutmaster, Tom Butterfield, stressed that this rank is an option, never a requirement, for Boy Scouts. Many boys just enjoy the Boy Scout Club for all that it offers without pressing on towards the rank of Eagle Scout.

Boy Scouts learn a large variety of skills in life, leadership, outdoors, safety, community service, etc., all while having fun under the guidance of scoutmasters and involved parents. Eagle Scouts receive even more advanced training in leadership, community service, responsibility, and outdoor skills.

Rushford’s Boy Scouts have been regularly participating in serving the community for decades.  Schroeder said some of his favorite projects and activities have included (to-date): The Veteran’s Park Project, doing the benches at Magelssen Bluff, building the new sign in front of the Rushford Public Library, and especially, participating in the Veteran’s Dinner at the Rushford American Legion Post #94 every November.

Schroeder stated that being involved in these activities “helped shape his idea for his Eagle Project.  The involvement helped shed light on what leadership was and what would be involved in getting this project done”. 

Schroeder insisted he “will not discontinue serving the community now that (he) has obtained the rank of Eagle Scout.” He is continuing with the Boy Scouts, serving as assistant scoutmaster, camping, and participating with their various activities, such as the Veteran’s Dinner at the American Legion in November.

Currently, Schroeder is also enrolled full-time in the Post-Secondary Option in R-P Schools. This will allow him to graduate with both a high school diploma and a Welding Diploma from SE Technical School.