Eagle Scout award for Isanti’s Matt Derby

Matt Derby is the latest area Boy Scout to earn the top-level Eagle Scout Award when he completed his required project and paperwork. His Court of Honor was hosted at the Derby farm north of Isanti Sunday, April 27.

Matt Derby

Matt Derby

“The ceremony was nice because we had it outside,” said Derby, 17. “That Sunday was during the first nice weekend of spring. We had about 50 people for it.”

Derby has been involved in Scouts since starting as a Tiger Cub in Isanti. Staying active in Troop 523, he put on miles for many great experiences.

“My favorite camp would have to be Tomahawk up in Wisconsin,” Derby said. “It has a lot of land, and it’s more rustic. Our camp emphasis was a horse riding one, and they have a lot of riding area up there. Tomahawk Camp had also had a large herd of buffalo, too.”

Asked for what intrinsic skills come with Scout membership, he replied, “Probably the best thing I got out it of was leadership, really. Being in Scouts, you get a lot of leadership opportunities because a lot of the activities are boy led. Most troops nowadays have a wide span of ages in them, so that gives the older guys a chance to lead.”

Playground fence at Faith Lutheran

Derby literally stumbled on the idea for his Eagle Scout project while visiting with his Faith Lutheran Church’s new pastor, the Rev. Clifton Hanson, last summer.

“I met with the pastor outside and told him, ‘I bet I can beat you into the church.’ So I was hopping the playground fence, and I broke one of the boards,” laughed Derby as he recalled the event. “So that was the main reason I thought I should replace the fence, because I broke it. The old wood and polyester-link fence was probably put up 20-plus years ago.”

Matt Derby shores up a corner post on the Faith Lutheran playground fence, which was his Eagle Scout project last August. Helping him in the photo are his dad, Chris, and sister, Whitney.

Matt Derby shores up a corner post on the Faith Lutheran playground fence, which was his Eagle Scout project last August. Helping him in the photo are his dad, Chris, and sister, Whitney.

Derby began checking out price estimates for different styles of fencing, and he worked an Eagle Scout project discount with Home Depot in Blaine after deciding on a galvanized steel fence structure with new cement footings.

The actual construction filled two weekends last August. A small group of Scouts joined the Derby family for the labor.

“The hardest part was trying to pull out the old posts,” Derby said. “There was probably about 80 pounds of concrete on each one. They were all rotted out, so when you put the chain on, the posts yanked right out. So we had to dig down about 4 feet to get the concrete out.”

The application for the Eagle Scout Award was then checked over and approved at both the state and national BSA offices.

The Faith Lutheran playground gets a good deal of use because the Heavenly Sunshine preschool is also operated at the church.

“Everybody really liked the new fencing,” Derby said. “It almost looks like a spooky church fence because it’s all black. We just thought it would match the church better than the green and brown of the old fence.”

Matt Derby works with Dale Brandt to pull out the old playground fence posts.

Matt Derby works with Dale Brandt to pull out the old playground fence posts.

Last year was the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scout Award for the BSA.

“That was my big push to get it done last year, too. Then you get a different Eagle badge that says ‘1912-2012 100th Year Anniversary’ on the outside,” finished Derby, who still has a full year to enjoy in Boy Scouts. This coming summer, he will going to Grey Wolf Camp for more youth leadership training.

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