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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Eagle Scout projects help church, community

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tony De La Rosa, pastor of Rejoice! Community Church, in Le Mars, sits on a bench surrounded by three projects four Boy Scouts completed on the church grounds. The projects were part of efforts to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
Local Boy Scouts are bringing together volunteers to create a place to share fun and faith and support programs for young people.

Helping is the word Alex Hermes, Reilly Wingert, Bradley Young and Clint DeLarm use often as they talk about their Eagle Scout projects.

They're providing that help through successful leadership for projects to benefit the community.

Boy Scouts in Troop 188, of Le Mars, worked together on Eagle Scout projects at Rejoice! Community Church, in Le Mars. From left are Boy Scouts Clint DeLarm, Alex Hermes, Reilly Wingert and Bradley Young.
Tony De La Rosa, pastor of Rejoice! Community Church, in Le Mars, ignited the spark for the fire pit project Reilly Wingert chose for his Eagle Scout effort.

"I simply said to the church that I wanted to put a fire pit out there so we could have a place to get together and have a camp fire and celebrate God," De La Rosa said.

Wingert, 15, took De La Rosa's thoughts about the fire pit on the church grounds at 1320 Third Ave. S.E. from planning to construction.

Wingert led volunteers who, he said, built wooden benches, weighed rocks put place in the area and laid out the fire pit.

"The challenge of the project was telling everybody what to do," Wingert said.

Rejoice! Community Church members, scouts, parents and friends helped create the fire pit area.

A youth group meeting last month was the inaugural use of the fire pit, De La Rosa said.

The pastor had thoughts of two other projects around the area for the fire pit he'd shared with his church members.

They've also been completed by the scouts.

Hermes' Eagle Scout pergola project creates shade for those gathering near the fire pit.

"It's like a shelter house without a top," the 16 year-old Hermes said.

Pergola plans were drawn by Wayne Schlotfeldt, of Schlotfeldt Engineering, in Le Mars.

The construction took about four hours to complete on the grounds at Rejoice!, Hermes said.

"We had to set the posts, concrete those in the ground and screw in the rafters, mount them and make sure everything was square," he explained.

Hermes said he learned the project is a process.

"It takes a lot of work," he said.

At the same time at Rejoice!, Young, of Hinton, was working on his Eagle Scout project to build a retaining wall for an area to install a grill.

Like Hermes, Young, 15, described the project "as a process."

Telling people what to and what needs to get done and when were leadership tasks in the "process," Young said.

He also said he enjoyed the block wall construction work.

"Seeing people come together as a community and helping three boys make something that can last a long time," Young said, reflecting on what he enjoyed.

The pastor of Rejoice! saw the church become "activated and aware."

Rejoice! members also had an opportunity to join together in service because no one was paid to create the projects, De La Rosa said.

"We had people up there with construction skills, concrete skills and people brought Bobcats up because it was not all done by hand," he said.

The Scouts talked about safety issues and the things that were necessary for a building project while working with the church members, De La Rosa added.

The outdoor setting for the those Eagle Scout projects is a place where relationships can continue to develop, he said.

"It doesn't have to be in church and yet it can be sacred -- we're in creation," De La Rosa said.

The church's value system of reaching into the community, engaging young people and helping them to grow and learn is reflected in the projects, he said.

There will be a fourth opportunity for Rejoice! members to help a Boy Scout.

DeLarm, also a Scout in Troop 188 in Le Mars, plans to build a recycling center that's mobile.

"People in the community can donate recyclables to the church and the youth group so they can use that money for camps and programs for the young people," DeLarm said.

The four scouts in their teens have been led by Trudy Seng, of Merrill, who has been their Scoutmaster for six years.

"I think their projects are great," she said. "I love it when the young people give back."

Parents of the four scouts give credit to Rejoice! for providing a location for projects to help the community.

"Pastor Tony and all of Rejoice!Community Church really supported all of these boys in their projects," said Nicole Freeman, Reilly's mother.

Although the projects are related to Rejoice! by location, the Eagle Scout efforts are about the Scouts, not the church, De La Rosa said.

"I think it's very cool that the young people have an opportunity through the Boy Scouts to learn some foundational skills that are life skills," he said.

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