Having been an Eagle Scout is a competitive advantage when it comes time for college admissions and job applications, but for Jacob Rohlfing, the honor was more about the journey: the life-long friendships, knowledge and leadership skills he gained along the way.
Rohlfing, who graduated from CHS this spring, was awarded the rank, the Scout’s highest, in a “Court of Honor” at the Cleveland Church of Christ on Monday.
“For me, it’s more about the process and not the end goal,” he said. “Now that I am an Eagle, it’s very nice, a good feeling, but I think I’ve really grown into an Eagle. How I am today is because of the time and work I put in over seven years of being a Scout.”
Rohlfing got on the path to an Eagle Scout as a fifth grader back in 2016, a day after his 11th birthday. At first, he had to learn the ropes, figuratively and literally too.
While he was taught about scouting ideals (the Scout oath, law, motto and slogan) the patrol method and how earning merit badges are steps toward advancement, he also learned how to tie a square knot, a half hitches and a taut line hitch, important knots in camping and other outdoor activities. Three months in, he became a full-fledged Scout.
From there, it was on to the Tenderfoot requirements: going on his first of many campouts, learning to cook on an outdoor stove and practicing how to use and care for a knife and an ax. He learned about poisonous plants, basic first aid skills and the rules for hiking. He completed physical fitness tests and demonstrated how to respect the US flag.
“All the while you were on the Boy Scout trail, we watched you study and we saw you learn by doing,” said scoutmaster Mary Klaseus, who emceed the ceremony.
As he missed a few meetings, Rohlfing worked on his Tenderfoot and 2nd Class Scout requirements at the same time: more first aid skills, how to use a map and compass and a deeper dive into nature. He passed his first swim requirements, rehearsed water rescue techniques and completed his first service project. He earned both badges in May 2017.
Continuing to up his skills in orienteering, rescue techniques and first aid, Rohlfing worked his way through the 1st Class requirements. He passed his Scout swimming test and learned how to plan outings. He achieved that rank in January 2018. Earning his first six merit badges and taking on leadership roles, he became a Star Scout nine months later.
A year after, with five more merit badges on his chest and taking on a role to teach the younger scouts as a troop leader, Rohlfing received the Life Scout ranking.
From there, as requirements got more difficult, including 10 more merit badges, it took him three and a half more years to earn the title of an Eagle Scout. Along the way, the Scout ideals took on a deeper meaning, and he had to lead and work on a service project, re-painting all of Cleveland’s fire hydrants last summer. He officially earned the Eagle rank—only achieved by less than two percent of Scouts—last March.
“Scouting has always been a presence in my life,” Rohlfing said. “Seeing that point of an Eagle Scout has not been a question. It has always something I was going to do.
Rohlfing’s two brothers, Daniel Rohlfing (CHS 2019) and Eric Rohlfing (CHS 2021), are also Eagle Scouts and participated in the ceremony. Eric presented the Eagle Scout challenge, and Daniel led his brother’s Eagle Scout oath (above).
Rohlfing chose mentor and fellow Eagle Scout Jerrett Peterson (CHS 2020) to give him the Eagle Scout Charge.
“Jerrett has always impressed me in many ways and was always a friend I could look for in Scouts,” he said during the ceremony. “Because I looked up to him, I was compelled to complete my time in Scouts and get to the Eagle Scout rank.”
For an extra seven merit badges over the 21 required, Klaseus also bestowed Rohlfing with a bronze Eagle Palm. In recognition of their guidance in his efforts, Rohlfing presented his mother Cheri Rohlfing with the Eagle mother’s pin and his father Andy Rohlfing with the Eagle tie tack.
Also during the ceremony, Pastor Jeff Peterson (father of Jerrett) gave the opening prayer and benediction. Fellow troop 68 members Jackson Bowen led the color guard of Dylan Zimmerman and August Keltgen, and all the scouts participated in the candle lighting ceremony.
Rohlfing is a member of the CHS National Honor Society, was an honor graduate, and, at the graduation ceremony this spring, received the Androli Award for outstanding work in academics, athletics and community service.
He will attend classes at the University of Minnesota this fall.
Dylan Zimmerman and August Keltgen presented the colors.
Jackson Bowen lit a candle for each rank that Jacob Rohlfing achieved.
Eagle’s Club: Jacob Rohlfing, Jerrett Peterson, Daniel Rohlfing and Eric Rohlfing during the ceremony.
Jacob Rohlfing added to his parents’ collection when he presented his mom Cheri with an Eagle mother’s pin and his dad Andy with an Eagle tie tack.
Emcee Mary Klasues at the podium with Jacob Rohlfing and Jerrett Peterson.
Pastor Jeff Peterson led the opening prayer and benediction.
Family and friends attended the ceremony.
There are over 135 merit badges to choose from. For the 21 needed for Eagle Scout, 11 specific ones are required, and three more are required from a choice between two or three. By row, Jacob Rohlfing’s merit badges are as follows: Chess, Water Sports, Archery; Aviation, Snow Sports, Personal Fitness*; Citizenship in the Nation*, First Aid*, Swimming**; Environmental Science**, Family Life*, Cooking*; Citizenship in the World*, Lifesaving**, Camping*; Citizenship in the Community*, Communication*, Citizenship in Society*; Skating, Geocoaching, Astronomy; Fire Safety, Canoeing, Fingerprinting; Programming, Personal Management*, Exploration; Digital Technology. On the right is his freshly-pinned Eagle Scout badge. *Denotes required for Eagle. **Among a choice of two or three required for Eagle.
The ceremony program