Photo: Sam Kimpan is an Eagle Scout from the Boy Scout Troop 19 in Big Rock and surrounding communities. His Eagle Scout project was to clear 1/4 mile of the Little Rock Creek, which runs through Hinckley. After the debris was cleared, the creek went down six inches, and it has fixed the flooding problem for the community it runs through. Courtesy Photo
by Susan O’Neill
Big Rock—Sam Kimpan, 18-year-old Big Rock Boy Scout Troop 19 member, is the most recent in his Troop to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. According to Denise Mathewson, the troop’s committee chair, Kimpan is one of three boys who will become an Eagle Scout this year, making the Troop on target for 20 boys who have earned this rank within the past 16 years.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a rigorous endeavor. It requires progressing through the six Boy Scout ranks, earning 21 merit badges, planning, developing and leading a service project, six months in a Troop leadership position, and successfully completing the Eagle Scout Board of Review.
Because of the rigor involved, the average number of Boy Scouts who go on to earn the Eagle Scout rank is only four out of 100 Scouts. The percentage of Troop 19’s Scouts who reach that rank for just this year is about 15 percent, nearly four times the average.
“I think it has a lot to do with being a smaller, close-knit town, with a lot of parents involved,” said current Scout Leader Bill Yoder.
Mathewson said that parents within the community feel strongly about their boys’ involvement in Scouting, and there is a lot of parental devotion to organizing, planning and assisting the boys in achieving their accomplishments. Her husband Eric, an Eagle Scout himself, has coordinated the troop’s merit badge process. Sam’s father, Mike Kimpan, was Scout Master for three years until Yoder took over a year ago. Prior to becoming the Scout Master, Yoder was an assistant leader since his son, David, now 18, was in first grade.
“The Scout leaders are just such good role models,” said Donna Kimpan, Sam’s mom. “They all have jobs, but every Monday night, there they are. These guys really care about the kids.”
“And the boys have to make that commitment, too,” Yoder added.
Yoder said that when he became a leader with the Scouts, there were seven in his den, including his son, David. Of the seven, two dropped out, and three of the remaining five will become Eagle Scouts.
Yoder emphasized that Big Rock and the surrounding communities and its businesses have supported the Troop over the years, allowing the boys to do many fun things.
The Big Rock Lions Club has been the sponsor of the Troop since it began in 1989. Others contribute generously, as well, such as O. M. Fasel Greenhouse, which helps with the Troop’s spring plant sale and the wreath and evergreen sale in November. The proceeds from these sales help the Scouts earn money for camping equipment.
Yoder said the Troop tries to camp out at least once a month. In the colder months, they stay in cabins, and the rest of the year they’re in tents.
Nathan Carr, a 33-year-old former Big Rock resident, was in the first group of Cub Scouts that progressed to Boy Scout Troop 19.
“It was great as a kid,” he said. “We would go on adventures.”
Carr recalls hiking at Starved Rock State Park every year during a week-long camping trip, working on merit badges and learning things such as first aid, fire-starting, knot-tying and setting up camp.
Carr stayed in the Scouts until he was 20, two years after earning his Eagle Scout rank, when he became an assistant Scout Master with the Troop.
His Eagle Scout project created Big Rock’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, which will celebrate its 17th year this spring. The hunt draws between 200 and 300 egg-seekers, who hunt for the 2,000 to 3,000 hidden eggs. Carr still comes back for the event some years, and now he brings his girlfriend’s daughter to the event.
“It’s neat to see the next generation participating,” he said.
Kimpan said that for him, Scouting started out as just a fun activity. Then, he began to learn more and more skills, and during high school, began taking on leadership roles, planning outings and helping other boys obtain their merit badges.
The boys learn how to give first aid and CPR, how to give a speech in front of a group, about citizenship from local to global, personal fitness, as well as personal management and how to plan and handle money.
“They try to prepare you for life,” Kimpan said.
Kimpan’s project to earn his Eagle Scout rank involved clearing debris at Little Rock Creek, which had led to flooding of residents’ basements in the area.
“A couple of trees had fallen and created a log jam,” he said. “The water was a foot higher than it should have been.”
Kimpan said he had 15 to 20 Scout and community volunteers and two to three pieces of equipment during two weekends. They removed tires, metal, logs, a hot water heater, a swing set, a BBQ grill, as well as the front suspension of a car.
The idea behind the projects is to take it from start to finish, Yoder said. The boy writes up a proposal to the recipient, puts together a plan for how he will accomplish it, obtains the funding and creates a budget, recruits volunteers, leads the project, tracks the dollars received and spent, and obtains the recipient’s approval that the job was done to their satisfaction. The last step is a review in front of the Eagle Scout Board of Review.
“I believe everybody could benefit from Scouting,” Carr said. “The experiences are well worth the time invested. There’s nothing else like it for boys growing up.”
This is the creek area before the cleanup. Courtesy Photo
Thanks to Sam’s efforts, here is the area after the cleanup. Courtesy Photo
Troop 19 Eagle Scouts
Scout Name Eagle Scout
Board of Review Date
Nathaniel Carr 2/26/1997
Alexander Carr 11/13/2000
Michael Phillips 11/13/2000
Paul Drawz 4/30/2001
Jason Kazmierczak 9/3/2002
Matthew Kline 10/27/2003
Alex Kline-Wedeen 9/21/2005
Christopher Stola 5/8/2006
Michael Kline 7/11/2006
Ryan Mathewson 8/15/2006
Greg Landgren 11/14/2007
Jacob Franzen 11/27/2007
Evan Kline-Wedeen 12/11/2007
Peter Groch 3/31/2009
German Arroyo 11/17/2010
George Thompson 12/21/2011
David Yoder 2/3/2012
Samuel Kimpan 2/28/2012