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Omland soars among Eagles

By Staff | Jan 31, 2009

Scouting is a family tradition for the Omland family. All but his father, Brian (far right) have received the Eagle Scout Award. Included in family are (left to right) cousin Eric Nassen, uncle Kent Small, cousins Jeremy and Troy Small.

Brad Omland has earned the right to join an elite group of men and soar among Eagles such as Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the U.S., Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City and Neil Armstrong, astronaut and the first man to walk on the moon.

The son of Brian and Jody Omland of Blue Earth, Brad recently completed the necessary requirements to become an Eagle Scout.

Not every boy who joins a Boy Scout troop earns the Eagle Scout rank; only about five percent of all scouts do. This represents about 1.7 million young men who have earned the honor since its inception in 1911. They exemplify the goals of scouting – citizenship, training, character development and personal fitness.

Eagle Scouts are expected to set an example for other scouts and to become the leaders in life they have demonstrated themselves to be in scouting. Because of this, they are disproportionately represented in the military, service academy graduates, major professions, business and politics.

Omland’s future goals are a good fit with other famous Eagles.

“I plan to attend the University of South Dakota and pursue a double major in political science and philosophy,” says Omland. “I would like to teach one of these at the high school level then become a public servant like Senator Amy Klobuchar or even run for the Presidency.”

“If I were the President,” says Omland, “I would cut taxes and reduce government spending. I would also scale back in Iraq.”

A member of the BEA choir, Madrigals and Men of Note, Omland has also participated in football and been a member of the Knowledge Bowl team. Academically, his favorite subjects have included government and history classes.

When not in school or working with the local scouts, Omland enjoys reading political non-fiction, spending time on the internet, watching TV, playing video games and hanging out with friends. Since he likes to grill, he works occasionally as a cook at the Country Kitchen. Two to three nights per week and one shift over the weekend, he serves as the ice rink attendant. He says his duties include sweeping the rink and making sure the kids don’t get too rambunctious while there.

The journey to become an Eagle Scout has been a long and intensive one.

“I began when I was in first grade,” recalls Omland. “I got a Tiger Scout registration form at school and showed it to my Dad. He asked me if I wanted to join and I said ‘yes’ and have stuck with it ever since.”

It was only natural for Omland to continue the path toward becoming an Eagle Scout since he has one uncle and three cousins who also have earned this honor.

“I became an Eagle Scout partly because I knew I would feel better if I finished what I had started,” says Omland. He also adds his Dad’s persistence was a major influence in keeping him focused and on track for the Eagle award.

In order to earn the Eagle Scout rank, Omland had to show a mastery in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills before advancing through the ranks. To advance, he had to pass specific tests that are organized by requirement and merit badges.

Merit badges signify the mastery of certain outdoor skills, as well as helping boys increase their skill in areas of personal interest. Of the 120 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout. Of this group, 12 badges are required, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping and Family Life. In addition, a scout has a choice between Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving and a choice among Cycling, Hiking and Swimming.

Omland confesses he has patches and badges galore as a record of his scouting years.

For the past five summers, he has spent five weeks at the Cuyuna Scout Camp in Cross Lake working on badges.

Other experiences and opportunities he has had, earning him patches and badges, include attending the National Jamboree for three weeks in 2005, participating in the National Order of the Arrow Conclave in 2006 and canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe area as a troop in 2007.

“I have liked scouting because there’s always plenty of activities to do and it gives one the chance to be with friends,” says Omland. He summarizes scouting by saying, “you learn a skill, you then teach it to others, then you learn another skill.”

Once Omland attained the Life Award in 2005, he then began the final phase in becoming an Eagle Scout.

“It took me about three years to gather information, complete the necessary steps, find a community project then complete it,” says Omland of the Eagle Scout award process.

“I saw a notice in the ‘Trinity Trumpet’ about the need for landscaping on the east side of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth,” says Omland.

The major requirement for the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project is for a Life Scout to plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to one’s religious institution, school or community. The project idea must be approved by the organization benefitting from the effort, the local unit leader (Scoutmaster), unit committee and by the council or dist-rict advancement committee before one starts.

Omland’s project to re-landscape the east side of his church was approved. He replaced the grass and small shrubbery with a stone wall and rocks to prevent erosion. The project would benefit his church because it would correct the damage the eroded soil caused by exposing the insulation and sheetrock of the church. It also would prevent any soil from washing on to the nearby sidewalk which had created hazards for people walking there.

First, he removed the existing plants and landscaping features. Then Blue Earth Landscape brought in the first layer of brick and placed it in the ground. Omland’s project crew then finished placing the rest of the brick. After the wall was in place, dirt was added then the rock. Spaces were left for plants to enhance the area. Omland completed the project on Sept. 27, 2008.

“It was a lot of paperwork,” says Omland of the project.

Currently, the senior at BEA High School is an Assistant Scoutmaster, meeting weekly with younger scouts.

Scouting, says Omland, has given him a real sense of service and leadership.

Although Omland has not been formally recognized for his achievement, he has earned the honor and will hold the title of Eagle Scout for life, thus giving rise to the phrase ‘once an Eagle, always an Eagle.’

Brad Omland has joined the elite few and will soar among Eagles.