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Eagle Scout’s project offers relief to families

Posted: Monday, May 13th, 2013

Mark Christenson has earned the Eagle Scout rank, the highest achievement rank in Boy Scouting, which was recognized by Boy Scout Troop 209 of Watertown at a Court of Honor on April 14.

Christenson, who now resides in Huron, is son of Pastor Tom and Janet Christenson. Mark was required to earn at least 21 merit badges and demonstrate leadership within the community. Mark’s Eagle Scout project required working with a nonprofit organization within the community. He decided to organize a building crew and design an outdoor play structure and benches at the Jan Manolis Family Safe Center in Huron, South Dakota.

Christenson’s Eagle Scout Project has left a positive, lasting impression on the Huron community where it is needed the most.

His efforts included organizing a crew and designing a children’s outdoor play structure and benches at the Jan Manolis Family Safe Center, funded by donations from Northwestern Energy, Hope Lutheran Church, and Dean and Jan Manolis. The play structure will help ease the distress of children and parents who seek a safe haven away from their troubled domestic situations.

“After being in Huron a short time and hearing about the work of the Jan Manolis Family Safe Center, I decided to see how I could help. I saw a need to try and make the kids staying there feel at home. I approached Jan Manolis with the idea of building a play gym area,” Christenson said.

“I hope the kids and mothers that are staying there now and that come in the future will be able to enjoy the play set as much as I enjoyed making it. I believe that this project will help their situation by making them feel at home during their stay.”

Although Christenson has not seen first hand the full extent of what the Safe Center deals with it did not deter him from finding a way to help.

“While I have not seen the impact it has had on the children due to the privacy needed for the families, I have sure heard about it. Both Jan and assistant director, Cindy Eckmann, have let me know how much the kids enjoy being able to play outside and how much the mothers enjoy getting to see their children have fun,” Christenson said.

Christenson said his experiences with the Boy Scouts and the lessons he has learned have been a major influence throughout his life.

“I credit Boy Scouts for teaching me how to be a leader and taking action in leadership situations,” Christenson said.

Outside of being a Boy Scout Christenson is involved in football, wrestling, track, band, choir, and is a certified lifeguard. After graduating from high school he plans on continuing his education by attending college.

For the complete article see the 05-12-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-12-2013 paper.

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