A member of the local scouting community has achieved a tremendous honor by ascending to the rank of Eagle Scout. Tyler Kemmer has been involved in scouting since first grade, and this distinction represents the culmination of twelve years of effort and dedication.
Eagle Scout is the highest possible rank in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and is only attained by roughly four percent of scouts. The applicant must complete a lengthy review process, in addition to obtaining at least twenty-one merit badges and leveling up through scouting leadership positions. Candidates must also select and complete an Eagle Project for the betterment of their community.
Tyler Kemmer’s scouting resume reflects both his work ethic and his enthusiasm as a member of BSA Troop 34. En route to achieving Eagle Scout status, he amassed forty-one merit badges including cycling, emergency preparedness, wilderness survival, physical fitness, personal management, and citizenship in the community. Through the years, Tyler also rose to a number of leadership positions, including Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader, and eventually Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. He also received an Honor Scout Honorable Mention. “It’s all about learning life skills,” explains Tyler’s father and Scoutmaster Mike Kemmer. “You learn about camping and knot tying, but you also learn the values of leadership and being involved in the community.” When the time came for Tyler to decide on his Eagle Project, he chose to construct a new, handicapped access ramp for the United Methodist Church in Pawling. “The ramp that they had there was built in the 1950s and was very steep, so it was hard to push someone up,” explains Tyler. “One of the parishioners actually fell because it was covered with an outdoor carpet that was slippery. It just wasn’t safe.”
Constructing the ramp would prove to be a difficult endeavor, and Tyler would need to rely not only on the skills he learned in scouting, but also on his Troop and the community as a whole. The process involved acquiring building permits from town officials and fundraising as well as approaching local businesses for support. Tyler organized a spaghetti dinner at the Pawling Fire House, which raised nearly $2,600 toward the ramp’s construction. “H.G Page was very generous with providing lumber,” says Tyler. “Hannaford, Acme, Vinny’s Deli, and Sauro’s donated food for the fundraiser. Everyone in the community was so generous.”
When the time came to begin the construction of the ramp, Tyler enlisted the aid of Troop 34 and former Scoutmaster Rocco Esposito, whom Tyler credits as being instrumental in completing the project. “For him to teach me all the things that he did about construction, I can’t thank him enough. He went above and beyond and put so much work into the project.”
Construction took place over multiple weekends last August. Tyler’s leadership skills would be put to the test as he oversaw the building of the ramp alongside members of Troop 34. “My responsibility was leadership and guidance, but it was still a ton of physical labor,” Tyler recalls. The ramp would be completed on August 19. “We’re really proud of what they did,” says Mike Kemmer. “We still get thank you calls.”
With the ramp finished, Tyler Kemmer completed the final requirement to become an Eagle Scout. He would officially receive the distinction at a BSA Eagle Scout Court of Honor on May 26, held at the Pawling Fire House.
In the fall, Tyler will attend the University of New Hampshire, where he intends to study biology and will continue to pursue his passion for ski racing. As the next chapter of his life is set to begin, he will take the values that he has learned in scouting with him, and can forever call himself an Eagle Scout. Tyler’s mother, Maura Kemmer, explains “No one ever says I was an Eagle Scout. They all say I am an Eagle Scout.”
When asked if he could impart any advice to someone considering pursuing Eagle Scout status, Tyler Kemmer had this to say: “Patience. It seems intimidating because there is so much to do, but if you have a good support system and a good attitude, it’s possible. There is such a small percentage of people that can call themselves an Eagle Scout. And for me to be able to say I’m a part of that is one of the coolest things I’ll ever be able to say.”