Denny Dzubay attains the highest rank Boy Scouts of America offers.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is no easy feat. According to Scouting Magazine, roughly two percent of all Boy Scouts throughout history go on to achieve the rank. For Denny Dzubay, it was six years in the making.
“This might be a cheesy answer, but I really like the camaraderie of it, you know?” Dzubay says when asked what has kept him in Boy Scouts for all those years. “Going on campouts with my friends, learning new things about it. Just the experience of camping and the activities that came with it,” he says.
Dzubay explains that in Boy Scouts, there are two main ways you progress through the organization: ranks and merit badges. “As you go through the ranks, you have to get a certain amount of merit badges per rank,” Dzubay says. “Eventually you get to the Eagle Scout rank, where you have to put all those combined merit badges together and finish it off.”
To become an Eagle Scout, you need to earn 21 merit badges, 14 of which are Eagle-required. And then, “There’s the ever-famous Eagle Scout project,” Dzubay says. “You have to go through a lot of paperwork with that. It’s really about learning about the leadership process and coordination.”
Eagle Scout service projects are as individual as the scouts that lead them, but they all must adhere to certain criteria. Dzubay says the specific wording is to, “Plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school or your community.”
“I started looking for a project around February of this year,” Dzubay says. “Two weeks into me starting to get the paperwork assembled, looking at what I can and can’t do, I was contacted by the city of Maple Plain.”
Dzubay already had a connection with city administrator Clarissa Hadler, who worked with Dzubay’s troop on a past public works project. “She contacted me in February saying, ‘Hey, do you know anybody who would want to do an Eagle Scout project for us?’ And I was like, ‘That’s me! I want to do one!’” Dzubay says.
Dzubay wanted his Eagle Scout project to involve either carpentry or construction. He reviewed multiple options with Hadler but says that the project that caught his eye was renovating picnic tables at local parks.
But even with his Eagle Scout project selected, Dzubay was just beginning the process.
“One of the biggest things that I learned was persistence,” Dzubay says. “During my Eagle Scout project, I had to pitch my proposal three separate times. Two of them got rejected, one by my Scoutmaster, one by the city.” Eventually, Dzubay landed on carrying out his project at two parks in particular: Veterans Memorial Park and Rainbow Park. His project was approved, and he assembled a crew of nine volunteers and set to work refinishing and rebuilding all of the picnic tables in the two parks, a process that took over 200 hours.
Another lesson Dzubay says he took away from the experience was leadership, a tool he believes he’ll find useful in his future endeavors. “One of the big things is that [the Eagle Scout project] shows that you are able to be a good leader. It’s a really big achievement, and I’ve always wanted to join the military,” Dzubay says, noting that leadership is a vital trait for an officer.
Even the more mundane aspects of the Eagle Scout project can resurface in useful ways. Dzubay is now putting his experience with paperwork to good use filling out applications for both West Point and an ROTC scholarship.
Court of Honor
Over the weekend of September 24–25, Denny Dzubay had his Court of Honor at Veterans Memorial Park. His father, Mike Dzubay, notes that despite the dreary weather, the event was awesome. Denny also had an unexpected visit from serving U.S. representative Dean Phillips, who awarded Denny with a flag that had been flown over the United States Capitol.