Eagle Scouts rise up in Woodbury
Woodbury High School seniors Matt Regnier and Joel Granstrom started their Boy Scouts journey when they were in kindergarten.
Now, Regnier and Granstrom have completed their journey by earning the rank of Eagle Scout.
"It's definitely a big honor, a big reward," Granstrom said. "It puts us in a class of people that not many people can say they are in because most kids drop out of scouts."
Regnier and Granstrom participated in an Eagle Scout ceremony in December.
"It's something that no one can take away from you," Regnier said. "I'm proud that I'm an Eagle Scout."
Both Regnier and Granstrom are members of Troop 9071 out of Woodbury-Peaceful Grove United Methodist Church.
In order to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, scouts must fulfill numerous criteria, including attaining 21 merit badges, demonstrate leadership and take part in a Scoutmaster conference.
The final requirement is to plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school or the community.
The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.
Once the project is complete, the candidate must successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
A park, improved
During his time with Boy Scouts, Regnier said some of his favorite aspects have been meeting new people, camping and various other activities.
Regnier said reaching the rank of Eagle Scout was something that he never really thought about all that much.
"I never really thought about going all the way up to the highest position," he said. "That was a far ways out. But, I just kept going and I didn't drop out."
For his project, Regnier decided to build and install four benches at two baseball diamonds at Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
"The baseball diamonds only had a back fence, so it looked pretty empty, pretty boring and there was nowhere to sit," he said. "I felt like the benches would attract more people if there was a place to sit."
In total, Regnier spent 170 hours on his project.
After communicating with Lake Elmo Park Reserve officials, Regnier went to work designing a plan for how he wanted the benches to look.
"I had to recruit a lot of people to help make my plan an actual thing," he said.
The final step in his project was working with a group of volunteers, over a weekend to build and install the benches.
Staying busy in the hospital
It was thanks to a fair at school that Granstrom wanted to join Boy Scouts as a kindergartener.
During his time with Boy Scouts, Granstrom said he enjoyed the camping and rock climbing activities.
Granstrom said he decided to go for his Eagle Scout because he had already put so much time in.
"We were so far already into it and were having so much fun in it," he said, "so, why not keep going until we get to the highest ranking?"
For his project, Granstrom decided to put together "bird house kits" for Children's Hospital in St. Paul.
The kits include pre-cut wood pieces, nails, a hammer and glue.
The kits are then distributed to patients at Children's Hospital to build and paint.
Granstrom, who spent a total of 109 hours assembling 51 kits, said he decided on the project because he wanted to give patients something to do while they were at the hospital.
Granstrom knows firsthand how boring sitting at the hospital can be since he spent time there when he was 10 years old after being diagnosed with diabetes.
"The more time you spend on a project, the less time you spend thinking about what's going on," he said. "You don't want them thinking about what's going on and what's wrong with them at the time, you want them to have something to look forward to doing.
"The birdhouses seemed like a fun hands-on activity that kids can get into with their parents, the doctors or the nurses."
In addition to the birdhouses, Granstrom also collected movies to donate to Children's Hospital. Granstrom collected more than 100 movies.
"We asked the hospital what they wanted and they said a lot of their movies would walk off once children left," he said.
Granstrom said the biggest challenge in building the bird house kits was trying to find space for all of the volunteers since it was raining the day they were working on them.
"I had limited space in my garage, so we didn't have enough room for everybody in the garage," he said.
Both Regnier and Granstrom said being in Boy Scouts has taught them life skills and life lessons that they will carry with them.
Some of the biggest lessons are: leadership, respect, responsibility and knot tying.
"I have a much bigger respect for nature and everybody around me," Regnier said.
"Scouts has given us a respect for nature that we probably wouldn't have had," Granstrom said. "Scouts has given us a better outlook on life than we normally would have had."