Beach Park Scout gets down, dirty for Eagle badge
By Beth Kramer email@example.com May 1, 2011 7:14PM
Zion-5/1/11, Sun./Illinois Beach State Park Cori Kublank, 12, of Lindenhurst, works on clearing debris in a creek as she helps with clean up as part of Joshua Sukowski Eagle Scout Project. | Joe Shuman~Sun-Times Media
Described as the “highest Scout merit badge,” the Eagle Scout badge is named after the American eagle. A total of 2,099,551 Eagle Scout badges have been awarded since 1911. Only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts attain the Eagle rank.
Source: Boy Scouts of America
Updated: May 1, 2011 11:36PM
ZION — A tricycle, a car tire and a basketball were among the items more than 30 volunteers fished out of Bull Creek. The crew spent the weekend cleaning the half-mile creek at Illinois Beach State Park at the behest of 16-year-old Joshua Sukowski.
It’s his Eagle Scout service project, and the Eagle candidate had to select the task, recruit helpers and execute the plan.
“It’s the only time he’s allowed to tell his parents what to do,” joked his mother Monica Sukowski of Winthrop Harbor.
She was among almost 40 people pulling trash, trees and other debris from the creek and from culverts along the main road into the state park.
The creek is on Illinois Department of Natural Resources property, said Bob Feffer, DNR assistant superintendent.
“We’re low on manpower, so this is a great help to us,” Feffer said.
His seven full-time staffers have their hands full keeping the campgrounds and picnic areas open, he said. So Feffer was pleased when Sukowski called the park asking what projects needed doing.
Sukowski’s mission is to clear the creek and culverts so water can freely flow onto park wetlands, and then he will install a flag pole at the park’s entrance.
The Zion-Benton Township High School sophomore will also install a plaque honoring Z-B teacher Mark Rymer, who recently died of a stroke.
“He was real sweet and really generous,” Sukowski said. “He was a good friend of mine.”
The Scout said he dedicated his project in Rymer’s memory.
He hopes to install the plaque and flag pole by next weekend.
“I feel relieved that I am close to being done and that I’m doing something really worthwhile,” Sukowski said.
He joined Cub Scouts in first grade and has continued working his way up through the Boy Scouts. He has completed 19 of the 21 merit badges he needs to get Eagle Scout Rank.
“It’s a big honor to have that. Also, it looks good on college applications,” Sukowski aid.
Fellow aspiring Eagle Scout Stefan Woloshyn, 17, of Wadsworth, was among the volunteers clearing debris over the weekend. He will be cleaning Roosevelt Park in Waukegan on May 14.
“It feels good to do this good work and then get rewarded with help for my own project,” Woloshyn said.
Sukowski said it is common for Scouts to help each other with their service projects.
Sherry Byrne of Waukegan said she’s known Sukowski since he was young. She said she was happy to help him with his Eagle project.
Her job was to record every volunteer and distribute snacks and water.
“He’s a great kid who really put his heart and soul into this project,” Byrne said.