by June Portnoy
Kevin Kauermann of Troop 280 at St. Bede The Venerable Parish, recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest award in scouting.
Kevin, currently a senior at Council Rock High School South, became a Cub Scout in third grade.
“My father, who was a Boy Scout in Troop 1 in Philadelphia, motivated me to become a Scout, recognizing all the benefits of joining,” says Kevin.
When Kevin was in sixth grade, he crossed over to become a Boy Scout, and in 2011, during his sophomore year in high school, he began preparing his project to become an Eagle Scout.
“Only two percent of Boy Scouts in the Unites States earn their Eagle Scout medal because it truly is a challenging, time-consuming process, but I knew it would be worth the hard work to earn it,” he says.
Kevin, who grew up near Tyler State Park and spent a lot of his youth bike riding through its trails, wanted to contribute something tangible to the park. He also wanted to do something constructive because he has an interest in mechanical engineering, a degree he plans to pursue in college.
Kevin met with the Manager of Maintenance at Tyler State Park, who mentioned that he had a need for somebody to assemble new picnic tables. The park had purchased these tables, but had nobody to put them together.
“I liked the idea of assembling these picnic tables because I knew I could go back to the park and see people enjoying them after they were completed,” says Kevin.
Part of Kevin’s Eagle Scout project included teaching his troop how to assemble the tables, so he initially went to the maintenance yard at the park with his father to be sure he knew how to construct the tables.
In addition to simply assembling the tables, Kevin took the project to another level by deciding to also stain them, so they wouldn’t rot and would be waterproof. He also wanted to add reinforcement to the tables so they wouldn’t sag.
“Because of these extra steps, I estimate that these tables will last about 10 years, as compared to the previous tables at the park that lasted around five years,” says Kevin.
While still at the maintenance yard, Kevin took pictures of the different steps involved in constructing the tables. He then created a user manual, which included step-by-step instructions on assembling these picnic tables, along with photos he took to visually describe how to build the tables.
“My hope was that this manual would help the scouts assemble the tables,” says Kevin.
Kevin selected 11 picnic tables in the worst condition at three of the park’s picnic areas to replace. According to Kevin, some of the tables were sagging into mud, while others had nails sticking out of them. After disposing of these tables, he needed to construct five tables at the Boat House picnic area, three at Hickory Run and three at Upper Plantation.
His project came to fruition on October 1st and 2nd, 2011 when about 20 of his troop members assisted Kevin in assembling the picnic benches.
“While watching Kevin oversee this project and delegate responsibilities to the scouts, I realized that he had developed strong leadership skills,” says his proud mom, Elizabeth. “He was very effective in getting everyone to follow his instructions.”
Says Kevin, “Today when I see people sitting at the picnic tables we built, I get a great sense of accomplishment.”
Following the construction of the tables, Kevin was required to put together a project summary, which included all the specifics of his project. This past October 15th, 2012, Kevin’s project passed the Scout’s Board of Review, meaning he became an official Eagle Scout.
He received his Eagle Scout medal during a ceremony held at St. Bede’s on November 24th.
Kevin, who plays the cello at high school, performed a musical piece with three other cellists, who coincidentally are also Boy Scouts.
“I felt so honored to receive my medal,” says Kevin. “As they say, ‘Once you’re an Eagle Scout, you’re always an Eagle Scout.’ And I plan to always live my life by the Scout law and oath.”
Kevin hopes that someday he will have a son, and like his dad, he will encourage him to become a Cub Scout.
PHOTO CAP: Kevin Kauermann