Journey leads three to Eagle honor

Three Scouts in DeKalb's Troop 33 have earned the Eagle Scout Award in the past year; Brad Schaaf, Charles Kidd, and Derick Peterson. Eagle Scout is the highest advancement award presented by the Boy Scouts of America. Each year only about 4 percent of all Scouts earn the award. To become an Eagle Scout a candidate must earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, including required subjects such as camping, communications, first aid, citizenship, family life, environmental science, personal fitness and management. In addition to earning merit badges, they must serve their troop in a leadership position and conduct an extensive Eagle Service Project that helps the community while demonstrating their ability to plan, develop, and provide leadership to others. Brad Schaaf is a 2006 graduate of DeKalb High School and currently a student at Kishwaukee College. He became active in Scouting at an early age in Florida and continued in the program after moving to DeKalb. He earned 23 merit badges and served in leadership positions including Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His Eagle Project included the creation of a new library for DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center. He collected hundreds of books, designed and built new shelving units and organized musicians to stage a grand opening concert to celebrate the new library for residents. Charles Kidd is a 2006 graduate of DeKalb High School and is currently living in Michigan. He joined Boy Scout Troop 33 at age 11 and quickly became enthusiastically involved in the various outdoor activities continuing in Scouting until reaching the Eagle Scout rank. Charles earned 26 merit badges, while serving his troop as a Patrol Leader and Instructor. His Eagle Project involved collecting and organizing several thousand toys to send to Mississippi for hurricane victims during Christmas 2005. Due to his project, needy children devastated by one of the nation's worst natural disasters were able to enjoy a much happier Christmas. Derick Peterson is a 2007 graduate of DeKalb High School. He became involved as a Cub Scout in Pack 131, bridging into Boy Scouts and Troop 33 at age 11. Derick earned 26 merit badges and served Troop 33 as a Patrol Leader and Chaplain Aide. Derick's Eagle Project involved donating and installing smoke detectors for area seniors. Due to his project, many older area residents now live in a much safer environment. All three boys were very heavily involved in outdoor adventures, sharing many of the same exciting Scout trips. Their combined activities took them through 29 states, traveling nearly 30,000 miles across the United States and Mexico. They all began their adventures with summer camp at Camp Lowden near Oregon, Illinois. As they became older and more experienced they became active in various high adventure programs with Troop 33. They worked on a variety of troop fundraisers to pay for their many Scouting adventures. Collectively these trip included caving in Indiana and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Tours of the eastern United States featuring visits to historic sites in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, beaches, New York City, Boston, Cape Cod, whale watching, Acadia National Park, mountain climbing, and Niagara Falls. Tours in the west and southwest included camping, hiking, boating, kayaking, and sightseeing through Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Some highlights included; Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, Wupatke and Sunset Crater National Monument, and the Pima Air & Space Museum. They also toured Hoover Dam, Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, Arches, and Rocky Mountain national parks. They did rafting in Utah and Colorado and kayaked the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Hurricane relief efforts included the 2005 Christmas vacation where they helped collect supplies, banquet for homeless military families, cooked meals in Pass Christian, MS, and an animal rescue center in New Orleans, LA. Easter 2006 included collecting more supplies; cooking meals in Mississippi, operating a distribution center, and an animal rescue center in New Orleans. Throughout their years of Scouting they learned about citizenship and strong ideals. Scouting helped them grow, while encouraging their strengths and challenging them with exciting new adventures and experiences. They now share the distinction in being Eagle Scouts, something they have achieved after years of dedication and hard work. For Schaaf, Kidd and Peterson, their amazing journey to Eagle has taken them on a trail of self discovery helping them grow from 11-year-old boys to capable young men now out of high school and entering the world. Troop 33 is open to boys ages 11-17 and is sponsored by the First Lutheran Church in DeKalb.

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