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Becoming an Eagle Scout

By Staff | Jun 21, 2008

A junior at Blue Earth Area High School, Cody Klinksiek has not only found time to earn the honor of Eagle Scout. He also volunteers his time to help friends and fellow scouts earn their badges.

There wasn’t much for a little boy to do in Elmore.

“There were like two other kids my age who lived there,” said Cody Klinksiek. “Boy Scouts gave me a chance to come into town and do something.”

That was nearly 10 years ago, when Cody was in second grade. Now a junior in high school, he lives in Blue Earth and dreams of leaving home to attend the Air Force Academy or maybe join ROTC for the Air Force. But someday he might like to come back and be a Scout Master, helping other kids learn skills that have helped him in life.

“There’s something that gives a person a driving force, and for me, it’s Scouts,” Cody said.

Cody was recognized in an Eagle Scouts ceremony at Salem United Church in Blue Earth last month.

The rank of Eagle Scout is accomplished by only two out of 100 Scouts, according to Cody. He had to work his way up from a Tenderfoot to second class, then first, then Star, Life and finally Eagle.

“Up until a certain point, the entire idea (of Boy Scouts) was fun,” Cody said. “Then I reached that point when the major events made it run.”

Those events include a trip to West Virginia for the National Boy Scouts Jamboree and to Michigan for the Order of the Arrow. He also spends seven weeks during the summer at the Boy Scout camp in Brainerd, working as a life guard.

“Boy Scouts has given me a lot of opportunities,” Cody said.

He has earned the required 21 merit badges and has served in leadership roles since he reached the Star rank. For his service project, necessary to become an Eagle Scout, he made a memorial to honor the 36 veterans from the Blue Earth area who died during active duty.

The difficulty of earning merit badges varies. Some badges Cody earned at camp or through school activities, doing ‘basic stuff.’ Right now he’s taking chemistry and he participates in football and wrestling, so the work is nearly complete for two additional badges for science and sports.

“I can’t agree with that completely,” said Kaye Klinksiek to her son, worrying he was giving the impression the merit badges are easy to earn. “A lot of it’s in school, but there’s a lot of paperwork to do when you get home.”

Some merits, like personal management, were tough. But Cody doesn’t mind the work. In fact, he’s glad to be learning useful things — like how to save someone’s life.

His mother made him tell the story about rescuing a Scout Master during routine swim checks at Boy Scout camp. The Scout Master was in the deepest end of the water, starting his second lap when he began having trouble swimming, so a fellow lifeguard pushed a pole toward the Scout Master and pulled him to the dock. But the Scout Master didn’t pull himself out of the water; instead, his head went underwater, even as he held on to the dock. The other lifeguard froze, so Cody took over, recognizing the Scout Master needed immediate assistance.

He swam with the Scout Master to the shallow end of the dock and lifted him out of the water to backboard him. An EMT then arrived and took over. The man survived the ordeal and returned to thank the lifeguards.

Without his swimming, first aid and life-saving merit badges: “I wouldn’t have known what to do,” Cody said. “I would have froze.”