by Kimberly Redmond
November 05, 2008
Stephen Nagel, a 15-year-old Boy Scout from Park Ridge , is set to soar to Eagle Scout status. Recently, he has been working on his Eagle Scout Service Project in conjunction with the Park Ridge Police Department.
The Eagle Scout Service Project, according to Stephen, is “a leadership service project.” The project, which carries a requirement of 100 hours, also must benefit the community or a particular group in some capacity. “It’s not just about coming up with an idea. It’s about delegating responsibilities to other scouts and to other people that aren’t scouts,” he said.
As per a suggestion made by Chief Joseph Madden, Stephen will be working to increase the borough’s participation in the recently acquired SwiftReach notification system. SwiftReach encompasses two different alert systems, Swift911 and SwiftSchool. Stephen’s Eagle Scout Service Project, Operation Swift 911, is focused upon the Swift911 alert.
Swift911 functions similar to a reverse 911 system, by placing phone calls to specific people or areas of the borough in the event of an emergency, such as a missing child, evacuation information or if there’s a bear on the loose. Residents and businesses must enroll with the Park Ridge Police Department in order to receive Swift911 emergency calls.
“There are two different options. The county offers a reverse 911, which they pretty much control how it’s used. So, a lot of communities have purchased SwiftReach, so they can facilitate the use of it to their discretion a little more than the county,” said Madden.
Additionally, the borough’s electrical and water departments will be able to use the SwiftReach system in the event of an emergency, stated Madden.
The SwiftReach notification system, according to Stephen, “is a very worthy program’ for residents of Park Ridge to enroll in.
Part of Stephen’s Eagle Scout project includes a “door-to-door campaign” to distribute fliers informing Park Ridge residents of the new program, as well as how to enroll in it. Stephen will be in charge of enlisting the help of fellow boy scouts to successfully complete Operation Swift 911.
Along with informing residents about SwiftReach, Stephen and his fellow scouts will be distributing a pet census form. New Jersey State Code currently requires the borough to a periodic census of cats and dogs within the borough.
“We split up the town into about 15 sections. Each group of two to three scouts and an adult will go around canvassing their sections,” said Stephen. Scouts working under Stephen are responsible for reporting back what they have and have not completed.
Stephen, along with his fellow scouts, will be going door-to-door on Dec. 1, 8 and 15.
Stephen began his involvement with scouts in Kindergarten, when he became a Cub Scout. In fifth grade, he became a Boy Scout. “I continue doing it because I enjoy helping out a lot of people, going on fun trips and learning a lot of useful skills,” he said. As of now, he has earned 39 badges.
Despite the pressures of schoolwork, sports and other interests that might lead other boys to quit the Boy Scouts, Stephen successfully juggles all-honors classes, football and Boy Scouts. “It’s hard sometimes, but I love it,” he said.
“There’s so many benefits that come from Boy Scouts, other than just the fun we all have going on camping trips, ski trips, whitewater rafting. You learn all the skills you’ll need later in life. Also, being an Eagle Scout looks great on a college application,” he said.
Although Stephen has yet to map out his post-high school plans, he’s considering pursuing a career in neurology or engineering. “I really want to go into an intellectual career, I like to know how things work,” he explains.
Madden remains impressed with the borough’s scout program. “Last year, the Boy Scouts celebrated five Eagle Scouts, which brought the town’s total number of Eagle Scouts to 101. For a small community like this, that’s an amazing feat.”
Kimberly Redmond's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about SwiftReach products and services, continue to browse our web site or contact us.