Commitment and dedication are traits that you might expect to find in an Eagle Scout, but Ron Zufall has taken those traits to another level with his 41-year relationship with Scouting. Starting as a Cub Scout, Zufall worked his way up the ranks; he earned his Eagle Scout badge from Anderson Troop 75 in 1980.
An Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America program, and requires that the applicant earn a minimum of 21 merit badges; serve six months in a troop leadership position; plan, develop, and lead a community service project; take part in a Scoutmaster conference; and successfully complete a board of review.
Zufall continued as an assistant scoutmaster during college, and started Troop 37 in Redding in 1984. He became reactivated with Scouts in 1997 when his oldest son began Scouting, going on to serve as a den leader and Cubmaster, committee chairman, patrol advisor and high adventure trip leader.
“Scouting builds leaders, and gives boys a positive outlet for their creative energy. It gives opportunity for travel and adventures, and teaches responsibility and the rewards of hard work. I have yet to meet an Eagle Scout who is not a very confident, self-reliant and dependable young man,” says Zufall.
17-year-old Luke Peasha of Cottonwood is one of those young men. He spent five years involved in Scouting programs, originally joining to have fun and go camping. He stuck with the program, going on to earn his Eagle ranking in the last year. He notes that it was a long process, but adds, “I learned a lot about dealing with conflicts, negotiating, leadership, planning skills, and how to be flexible when things don’t work out the way you thought they would – all things that will help out in college and beyond.”
A large component of earning the Eagle ranking is planning and completing a community service project. Peasha’s project was to design and built a sand volleyball court for Stellar Charter School. He spent over 130 hours on the project, and admits that it was stressful at times. Asked what advice he’d offer to younger aspirants, Peasha says, “I’d tell other Scouts not to rush themselves, but take their time, and talk to others who’ve been through the process. Make sure you’re old enough to be responsible as the one in charge.”
Eagle Scout candidates may seek some guidance on the community service project, but the idea, implementation and decisions along the way must be entirely their own. “I definitely learned a lot of business skills. It was like a role reversal where I was the one telling the adults what to do,” says Peasha.
Colin and Jacob Milulecky are two brothers who have both committed themselves to becoming Eagle Scouts.
Colin spent nine years as a Scout, and wanted to earn the Eagle rank because “It was a big deal to me and my community.” He decided to refurbish some worn-out benches and tables at Turtle Bay Exploration Park for his community service project.
After over 135 hours of sanding, scraping and painting, Colin completed his project, and Turtle Bay visitors have newly restored places to relax. Jacob spent nearly a decade Scouting, and completed his service project, also at Turtle Bay, by designing and building additions and restorations to several animal cages.
“I thought that becoming an Eagle Scout was an accomplishment that is more and more uncommon these days, and would be of some use to me for applying to college and jobs. If a potential employer understands you have a rudimentary understanding of how to work hard and do challenging things, it makes you stand out among today’s youth,” says Jacob.
Zufall confirms that a benefit of Scouting and earning the rank of Eagle is in the area of college scholarships, noting that his own sons have gained significant help towards educational expenses through their Scouting efforts.
He also touts the benefit to the community at large. “Scouting allows the opportunity for so many different community service projects. In Shasta County, my three Eagle Scout sons have fenced the tennis courts at Grant School, and installed irrigation and landscape at Thompson field. Others in our troop have installed a pole vault pit at Shasta High School, refurbished the outdoor basketball courts at U-Prep, and have even been in the newspaper several times for their work at House of Hope and the Good News Rescue Mission.”
He adds, “And on top of all this, it has been a heck of a lot of fun for me! We have taken trips to Idaho for whitewater rafting and to rappel in the Rockies, and sea kayaking in Alaska this year among glacial icebergs, to name a few of our adventures. It is nice to take a break from my dental office and head out into the woods with these boys, watching them grow and develop into such wonderful young men. Taking them on adventures keeps me young at heart!”
Boy Scouts of America serves ages 7-17.
Find local programs online via zip code at beascout.scouting.org, or call chapters below:
Butte, Shasta & Tehama Counties:
Golden Empire Council, (916) 929-1417.
Boy Scouts of America Crater Lake Council, (1-800) 888-1273.