Be prepared; it’s the Boy Scout motto and it’s also Gage Linahon’s mantra. The Newton High School sophomore, who attained the rank of Eagle Scout last month said scouting has helped prepare him for every aspect of his life. It’s also been the push that’s kept him going as he worked to become an Eagle Scout, the highest honor a Boy Scout can receive.
“I just had to finish it I guess, my uncle was a Life Scout and he never finished, I didn’t want to be like that,” Gage Linahon said.
Only four percent of Boy Scouts will become an Eagle Scout, achieving the rank requires years of work and a minimum of 24 merit badges. Scouts have to complete all the work required to earn their Eagle Scout before their 18th birthday. Linahon’s father, Tim Linahon, said he was proud to see his son stick it out to the end. After a disastrous camping trip at Stevens State Forest, shortly after Gage joined Boy Scouts, Tim Linahon worried the cold, snow and the incessant rain might be too much for his son, and he might quit on the spot. Gage didn’t and that’s when his father realized he might be able to go all the way.
“It can never get any worse than this” Tim Linahon said, recalling the winter camping trip.
During the Eagle Scout process each scout is expected to complete a service project that benefits their community. Gage Linahon decided that he wanted to construct a Gaga ball pit in Newton. After finding a site at Aurora Heights Park, Gage started fundraising to raise the money to build the pit. All told, he raised more than $2,500 and he learned a lot from the project. After creating a presentation, he approached local businesses and asked for donations. It took six months to complete the fundraising, but Gage said every time he drives by the pit it brings a smile to his face.
“It’s a pretty good feeling to know that I’ve done something to help the community,” Gage Linahon said.
As much as Linahon has given scouting, it’s given back to him as well. Tim Linahon said his son has gained an immeasurable amount of confidence by participating in the Boy Scouts, and it’s helped him in every aspect of his life. Scouting has taken Gage all across the country. He’s been to three different scouting summer camps, a one week trip to the Boundary Waters and two weeks at the National Scouting Jamboree last summer. Getting away from home has broadened Gage’s horizons in more ways than one.
“He used to be very apprehensive to go out on his own and do things away from his comfort level,” Tim Linahon said.” He never wanted to stretch that comfort zone.”
Scouting has given Gage plenty of opportunities to stretch that comfort zone, to earn his wilderness survival merit badge he had to construct a shelter out in the wild, and spend the night in it.
“He was a nervous wreck,” Tim Linahon remembers, as he watched his son build his shelter for the night.
Gage not only survived his night in the woods, he thrived. Even though he’s reached the end of his scouting career he still plans to stay involved with Troop 354. He’d like to mentor other Scouts and encourage them to work toward becoming Eagle Scouts as well. Several other members of the troop are closing to Eagle Scout, and Gage is hoping he can help them over the edge.
“I want to provide a little motivation for these guys who are really close,” Gage Linahon said.
Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or firstname.lastname@example.org