Teen realizes dream with climb to top of Scouting

August 04, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Ryan Andresen knew he had made it last summer as he stood atop a tall, slender rock formation in New Mexico with just enough space for himself.

The Millersville resident has made it to the top again, 11 years after he started his quest to become an Eagle Scout.

"I'm proud of what I've done," said Mr. Andresen. "For me there's always been no question that I was going to get that."

Mr. Andresen will celebrate his achievement and be invested as an Eagle Scout at a ceremony tonight at St. John the Evangelist Church in Severna Park.

By reaching the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, Mr. Andresen, 18, has achieved what only 2 1/2 percent of all Boy Scouts in the nation have done.

He will join the ranks of fellow Eagle Scouts that include film director Steven Spielberg, former presidential candidate Ross Perot and former President Gerald Ford.

The rank means that he has completed six levels of scouting, earned 21 or more merit badges as a Life Scout, and completed an extensive community service project that showed development of an idea and management and planning skills.

For his project, which was completed last year, Mr. Andresen chose to build two benches, made of pressure-treated lumber, for Shipley's Choice Elementary School in Millersville.

Teachers use the benches to watch students during recess.

The idea came from his love of woodworking, said Joanne Andresen, his mother.

Along the way to becoming an Eagle Scout, Mr. Andresen also was initiated into the Order of the Arrow, a secret society within the Boy Scouts.

Troop members who are not in the order choose a scout who they think shows strong leadership and outdoor skills and vote that member into the order.

Though being a Scout has taught him a lot, Mr. Andresen said he continued scouting even though many others quit because he enjoyed what he was doing.

"Everybody stresses the service and learning, but it was really the fun for me," he said. "Scouting has always been a part of my life. I wouldn't feel fulfilled if I didn't finish it."

His best scouting experience came last summer when he spent two weeks backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M., he said.

It was there that he stood on the narrow rock formation while he climbed a mountain called the Tooth of Time.

"That whole experience was thrilling. It sent chills up our spines. I felt a great sense of awe of nature," he said.

He added that going to Philmont was a lifelong dream for him. He remembered hearing older members of the troop talk about their experiences there when he was a youth.

"All of us little guys wanted to go," he said.

Because her son has had an interest in the great outdoors since he was a young child, Mrs. Andresen said she is not surprised that he completed the Boy Scout program.

"He's always got sort of a goal in front of him," she said. "We're really proud of him that he stuck with something and accomplished so much."

She added that Scouting may be in his blood because his younger sister, both his parents and a grandfather have been Scouts.

Mr. Andresen, who graduated from Severna Park High School this year with a Certificate of Merit, will be attending University of Maryland Baltimore County in the fall to study pre-physical therapy.

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