Archive for Monday, November 22, 2010

Southwest Junior High ninth-grader installing cross outside First United Methodist Church for Eagle Scout project

November 22, 2010


Rod Zinn spent much of his Saturday morning 9 feet underground.

He wasn’t descending a ladder and digging through dirt and clay just for fun — his 14-year-old son, Dakota, needed this hole for his Eagle Scout project. Dakota is working on installing a 25-foot-tall steel cross outside of First United Methodist Church at 867 U.S. Highway 40, just west of the interchange for Kansas Highway 10, a project he came up with after driving by the building and realizing it didn’t look very church-like.

“I was riding in the car with my dad and we went by,” he said. “We said, ‘Is that our church? It looks like more than a fire station than a church.’ I thought we should do something to make it look more like a church.”

Dakota, a ninth-grader at Southwest Junior High, is fairly young to be working toward Eagle Scout designation, something his father didn’t earn until shortly before the 18th-birthday deadline. He wasn’t scared of the challenge, though.

“Most people do easy stuff, like a trail,” Dakota said. “Knowing who my dad is and who I am, we have to do something big.”

And big it is. The finished cross, which is a Methodist cross with a red flame, will weigh up to 3,500 pounds and require a special truck to install.

Saturday’s task was to prepare the foundation for the cross. Dakota and a few other Scouts from Troop 61 helped dig the hole, haul soil and rocks away, and guide the concrete into the hole.

Stefan Kuczera, a senior at Free State High School and fellow Boy Scout, came out early Saturday to help. He hopes that later when he is working on his Eagle Scout project, the other boys will be willing to assist him.

“You want people to help you,” he said.

The project is receiving support from business owners and the church alike. The concrete for the foundation was donated by a local company, and Dakota said a man from his church walked up to him last week and gave $500 to the project. Ultimately, it will end up costing up to $3,000 for the new adornment for the church, which motorists on K-10 will be able to see.


he_who_knows_all 7 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if this was approved by the city/county planning department....

laughable 7 years, 5 months ago

For all who don't know....the Eagle project is only for the landscaping aroung the cross. The cross is NOT even part of the eagle project!

beprepared 7 years, 5 months ago

The cross is 100% in the Eagle Project. That is verifiable. He wouldn't be doing this if if wasn't for the cross. The landscaping just fulfills the leadership to the volunteer requirements.

Mason McCurdy 7 years, 5 months ago

Laughable... Sounds like you really don't know. I would do a little bit of research before you post.

52Scouter 7 years, 5 months ago

Laughable, you seem to have little knowledge about the project if you would have read the article and talked with the young man, you would then know what it was all about.

Peter Houston 7 years, 5 months ago

pretty obvious that the dad is the one providing most of the leadership here...lots of nice publicity...but in the long run, this boy might benefit more by stepping out of his father's shadow.

Zachary Stoltenberg 7 years, 5 months ago

Actually, the requirements for Eagle state that the scout may provide no more than 10% of the work themselves, 90% must be done by other scouts and-or volunteers. The scout must also draft the proposal which must be approved by a review board prior to starting the project. The planning and solicitation usually take up at least 10% so the actual work is usually done by volunteers. It's all about leadership and there isn't a way to fake it. Too bad the Writer didn't focus more on Dakota and less on Rod. Way to go Dakota, keep up the good work!

Casey_Jones 7 years, 5 months ago

As someone who got Eagle with an "easy" project (trail w/ a creek crossing), it's a shame some people think these elaborate projects can't be "faked". You may be surprised at who really does the bulk of the fundraising, or who is the brains behind the project write-up. Oh well, at least they're still helping the community.

Mason McCurdy 7 years, 5 months ago

The youth in this case? Yeah. How about the meetings with community businesses he goes to. Last time I checked, it was him doing the talking in the meetings.

Casey_Jones 7 years, 5 months ago

My troop was pretty open about it as long as you've given it some thought. I know it's not like that everywhere though and if my disbelief would've been a problem, I would've been out of scouting long ago. Actually, I would've stayed for the camping, but Eagle? No way.

republicanforlife 7 years, 5 months ago

Judging by your username it's no suprise you want religion left out of scouting. Boy Scouts in not a government funded organization. I'm sure if Muslum was the religion they were practicing, you would not have a problem with it.

beprepared 7 years, 5 months ago

From what I have read in his paperwork and record keeping, Dakota has recorded almost 150 hours to planning and meetings with professionals, City/County, board of trustees, District (BSA) Advancement representatives, church members and scout leaders prior to anything being done this past saturday. Great Job to an ambitious young man. I am proud of him. He is making a difference. His Dad can't do that. It has to be ALL Scout.

Mason McCurdy 7 years, 5 months ago

obamarocks... why? what year were you involved in scouts?

Clickker 7 years, 5 months ago

No question that the Dad is pulling the strings here. I'm not so sure that is such a bad thing though. The Zinns are practically community service icons around Douglas county.

Mason McCurdy 7 years, 5 months ago

Clikker... It's all about who you know! When one is so involved in the Community, local business really want to pay it forward and give back which is the case with Dakota's Eagle Scout Project and was with my Eagle Scout Project when I was a youth.

ranger73 7 years, 5 months ago

It's a shame that all the Eagle Projects that have been done in this city didn't get this much exposure. There are a lot of Eagle Scouts in this city and I don't recall very many, if any others receiving front page press. Apparently it is all about who you know.

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 5 months ago

Some people are just attention whores, while others go around and do good things for people in relative anonymity.

52Scouter 7 years, 5 months ago

Apparently the newspaper thought he needed to be on the front page, for their is to much negativity going, your comment.

oldbaldguy 7 years, 5 months ago

What this young man is doing is commendable. It brings honor on scouting, the church and th community. Not appropriate to attack father or project.

ranger73 7 years, 5 months ago

It has nothing to do with jealousy emaw. There have been 10 or so other Eagle Projects completed just this year that received no coverage at all. I base this number on the amount of Eagle Scout announcements I have seen listed in the Saturday Scouting News Section, so there may be more or less, depending on when they actually did their projects.

Eric Neuteboom 7 years, 5 months ago

From one Eagle Scout to another: Great job!

Reading this brings back fond memories of my days in Scouting.

gatekeeper 7 years, 5 months ago

I commend anyone that makes it all the way to Eagle Scout. One of my nephews did.

BUT, this kid got a cross put up near a church. Where is the service to the community in that project? Examples of projects that actually provide a service to the community (these are examples that other scouts in the country have done):

building a playground for an orphanage building new shelving for local food pantry Building cages for the Humane Society collecting new backpacks and supplies for needy students holding clothing, glasses, hearing aid drives for the needy

My nephew's troop leader really encouraged that you need to do something to give back to the community, not just the church. I don't see where the standard, flaming, methodist church sign helps the community. It just makes the church more visible.

Mike Hatch 7 years, 5 months ago

I can't imagine getting Eagle at 14. I barely got everything finished before I turned 18.

Zachary Stoltenberg 7 years, 5 months ago

I had mine at 14, actually had it at 13 but I turned 14 before it was approved. Not hard if you bust your but at summer camp. ;)

Amy Heeter 7 years, 5 months ago

What is with you people today? Id it just about scouting or is this some kind of personality conflict? At least the kid is doing something besides smoking pot and drinking. Not that there haven't been scouts that did this but even they filled a good amount of time doing good things instead. Any time a kid gets involved we should support those efforts if only by telling them they have done a good job. Lighten up on the kid, his dad and the scouts.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 5 months ago

So then according to you the kid not only has to run his project past the scouting commitee but you as well. I will make sure to notify all the scouting parents I know of this new development.

52Scouter 7 years, 5 months ago

The Boy Scouts of America require that an Eagle project benefit a religous institution, community or schools. You can't please all the people all the time, but this is what he wanted to do for his Church. You have your beliefs, he has his. The bottom line is he is carrying out a service project and is learning from it. It is physically and mentally the hardest thing you will do in scouting. It lasts several months. It takes organization, persistance and time. That is why only 2% of all registered scouts nation wide only achieve the Rank of Eagle. I have seen boys clear trails, for that is their passion (trail riding), I have seen boys create create books for Childrens Mercy Hospital's Youth Cancer wing, I have seen boys build Playgrounds for womens shelters, pergollas for schools and churches, butterfly gardens for schools, tool sheds for schools, kiosks for camps and trails, dog cages and dog houses for the humane society, shelves for pantries, landscaping for cottonwood, etc. The many Eagles that are out there pick a project near and dear to them that has meaning to them. Afterall, they have to plan and execute it over many months, so they should have a valid reason. Whether it be church, school or community, it is a fantastic way to give back to the community as a whole and teach a young man about responsibility and sticktuitiveness along the way.

Pitt_Mackeson 7 years, 5 months ago

I can proudly say that I am an eagle scout, and from my experience my eagle project was very tough to carry out, after lots of planning and careful organization my requirements were fulfilled and I am reaping the benefits. It is a great honor to achieve this coming of age award, I wish this young man the very best as he lessens the gap between himself and completion.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 5 months ago

Oh for the love of God! [footnote: that "God" is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ... Jesus] is it just possible that ljworld published this so prominently because it will be so visible to so many people?

giving to one's church is giving to one's community.

Antichristian bigotry is pretty thick on here.

also, a bunch of whiney adults who put on their grumpy-shirts this morning forgot what it's like to be a kid. especially 9th grader!

very cool Dakota! and at 9th grade too! congratulations on your hard work. with your Eagle Scout rank, you will join a most honored and accomplished society.
the details in the article make it clear that you already have a very good head on your shoulders, and some good shoulders too.

I hope that the negativity in this thread only helps you to harden your resolve, and learn the value of focusing on the goals.
there will always be naysayers.

kcaj 7 years, 5 months ago

Wow, Great job kid!! The good are proud of you, the bad aren't & will never be.

Michial Coffman 7 years, 5 months ago

The Scout part is great WAY TO GO!! The part that is the most disturbing to me is "Rod Zinn spent much of his Saturday morning 9 feet underground." If this man dug the hole, that deep by hand and was in it! He is a fool !!!! With no brains! Yet another person doing something they know nothing about . One small cave-in and this kid would have been burying his father.

52Scouter 7 years, 5 months ago

Apparently you believe every thing you read madmichial. I believe you could be the fool with no brains. if you look at the photos, you can tell it was machine dug (now that you are the expert in excavation proceedures), especially with the rebar cage next to the pit. My understanding was that he went down to clear out the bottom remnants prior to installation of the cage under close supervision with contractors above. Your comments warrant no thought or knowledge of what went on.

Mason McCurdy 7 years, 5 months ago

madmichial... He is a fool??? With no Brains????? Maybe you didn't hear, Rod has more years of experience in projects like this than you've probabily have been alive... If you want more photos to show how the excavation went... Just ask. The last thing Rod is going to do is get into an unsafe situation.

Michial Coffman 7 years, 5 months ago

If he went to the bottom of that hole HE DID JUST THAT! And unless he does it every day I do not believe he has any more experience because I do excavation every day.

simpletrim 7 years, 5 months ago

Rod. Thanks for clarifying, I was under the impression the new bridge on I-70 was Dakota's eagle project. Best of luck with Troop 61!

Michial Coffman 7 years, 5 months ago

"My understanding was that he went down to clear out the bottom remnants prior to installation of the cage under close supervision with contractors above."

You just said he was at the bottom. And the photos show no safety eqiupment, just a ladder.Had he done this on a job any reliable contractor would have run him off the job.

I would just hate to see someone get hurt while trying to do a great thing

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