Youth hooked on Scouting
Scouts help a group of children fish during Seth Biedrzycki's "Learn to Fish" Eagle Scout project at Harvester Park. | Photos by Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 11:44AM
At the age of 13 and an incoming freshman at Hinsdale South High School, Seth Biedrzycki is particularly young to have achieved the highest recognition attainable in Boy Scouts, the rank of Eagle Scout.
On Saturday, Biedrzycki completed his Eagle project by organizing and leading a fishing workshop for kids age 6-11 at Harvester Park in Burr Ridge. The Eagle project is the capstone for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.
Along with the help of seven other Burr Ridge Troop 56 members and a few adults, Biedrzycki taught 22 kids how to rig a reel, bait and cast, and finally, fish in the Harvester Park pond. Participants rotated through seven stations, each focused on a different fishing skill.
“I went to the Burr Ridge Park District and talked to Barb Barkstrom [business services coordinator] and asked if they had any ideas,” said Biedrzycki. “We were going through ideas and it turned out they used to do a fishing derby.
“They don’t do it anymore because it was attracting too many people and they didn’t want to have the area trampled down. However, that gave me the idea of holding a fishing class for a limited amount of people, and they thought that was great.”
Biedrzycki was able to supply all of Saturday’s participants with the necessary fishing gear thanks to donations from Cabela’s in Hoffman Estates and the Mitchell Reel Museum in North Carolina. The Willowbrook Whole Foods donated food for the day as well as two workshop prep sessions for the Scouts and adults involved.
Additionally, Biedrzycki was able to raffle off six fishing rods donated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Illinois DNR also donated instructional pamphlets about fishing for workshop participants to take home.
“I emailed over two pages of companies about donations and these happened to be the people that were willing to help,” said Biedrzycki. “Doing the Eagle project has really helped me with my people skills.
“I learned that some people really won’t care what you’re doing, but that some will and will really want to help. It also taught me about responsibility and sticking to deadlines.”
David Biedrzycki, in addition to being Seth’s father, is the Troop 56 Scoutmaster. David was in attendance at Saturday’s fishing workshop.
“It’s just a great feeling when a father can see his son further and better himself and also know that I helped and was involved,” David said. “Hopefully, he can put the skills he learned in Scouts to good use.”
Burr Ridge Troop 56 has more than 30 members ranging from fifth grade to high school students, and eight of them will be completing their Eagle projects this year - an exceptionally high number of members from one troop to be completing the project.
“We go to a lot of cool places. Also, the younger kids really like working with the older kids and everyone gets a lot out of it,” said David. “I think because of the fact that you get to work alongside older students really inspires the younger students and makes them want to push forward and work hard.”
Now that Seth has completed his Eagle project, he plans to continue with Boy Scouts and earn his Eagle Palms, a step beyond Eagle Scout. He is also the senior patrol leader for his troop, an elected position, and is responsible for helping to plan activities, and organize and motivate his patrol.
“I’ve always been interested in Scouting,” said Seth. “I’ve been in it since Cub Scouts and I’ve always thought it was interesting. I believe that if I stay in Scouts longer it will teach me more responsibility and help me do better in life.”