NR resident earns Eagle Scout honor
New Richmond resident Nicholas Bradish has been a part of many Eagle Scout ceremonies over the years, but none of them could compare to being the center of attention himself during his own Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony on Dec. 14, at Prairieview Covenant Church in New Richmond.
“It was really surreal, going through the ceremony as the center of attention, after being a part of several Eagle ceremonies before and wondering what it would be like,” Bradish said. “But all I could feel was nervous and I was just hoping that all of the ceremonies would go without a hitch. I’m glad they went as well as they did, or I might have had a heart attack.”
During the ceremony, Bradish was formally recognized by Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 460 of New Richmond, the Eagle River District, Northern Star Council and the National BSA. as an Eagle Scout. For his achievements, Bradish was awarded, by the State of Wisconsin, a U.S. flag that had flown over the Capitol, he and was given special recognition by both the State Assembly and the State Senate. Representing the State of Wisconsin at Bradish’s ceremony were Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Rep. John Murtha (R-Baldwin), both of whom were present at Bradish’s Arrow of Light ceremony when he first became a Boy Scout.
“Senator Harsdorf and Representative Murtha were there to remind me that even though the ceremony marked the end of one thing, it also started the beginning of the next,” Bradish said. “Having them here at the close of my scouting career served as a reminder to look forward to the next stage of my life’s journey, and to never forget the valuable principles that scouting has taught me.”
The ceremony included many special presentations by Harsdorf and Murtha, as well as Bradish’s Scoutmaster Jeff Kuhlman. Bradish’s father, Mick Bradish, also gave a presentation to honor his son.
“The candle lighting ceremony, the trail to the Eagle ceremony, and the Eagle poem and pledge are integral parts of many Eagle Scout Court of Honors, including my own,” Bradish said. “The mood was serious and solemn, but also happy and celebratory. It was one of those experiences that not many people can say they have been a part of, and you could almost feel the mood change as we moved from some more serious ceremonies to some lighter speeches and a funny slideshow.”
Unlike most Eagle projects, which usually involve some kind of manual labor, Bradish’s project was based around public speaking and presentation. Bradish’s project involved leading a presentation on Arbor Day, focusing on the importance of trees and the environment to the fourthgrade at Hillside Elementary. Along with two of his friends, Bradish went to the school, did his presentation, then led the students outside to dig up dead or dying trees so they could be replaced by new, healthy trees which the students would care for over next nine months.
“For the next five months, the trees had to be continuously watered by hand, each tree requiring nearly three gallons of water every other day,” Bradish said. “Once the weather got colder and the trees started losing their leaves, only then could I finally say my work was done. While the actual presentation may have only lasted an hour, the work required for the project to succeed spanned over nine months.”
One of the things Bradish enjoyed the most about his Eagle project was seeing the students go out and plant the trees.
“As I was leading the presentation and marching the kids outdoors to plant the trees, I could see and feel their excitement, their enthusiasm and their joy,” Bradish said. “And although that may not be the official ‘recognition’ or even the end of the project, in that moment, I truly realized the power of service in the future of the world. For the kids to recognize me and my efforts to help the environment, to educate them, and to let them have fun while learning, that was all the recognition I needed.”
Although everything with his Eagle Scout project turned out alright in the end, Bradish had a hard time seeing what good all his hard work would do when he finished his project.
“At many points during the planning process, I wanted to give up and not finish, probably because I didn’t see an immediate gain from the hard work,” Bradish said. “Through my dad’s encouragement, however, I was able to push through the many hours of careful thought and planning, and jumped through seemingly hundreds of redundant loops. When the project came together, it taught me that the benefits of hard work aren’t always tangible, but that doesn’t make the experience any less rewarding.”
Now that he has been recognized as an Eagle Scout, Bradish plans on helping out where and when he can with the scouts. He wants to remain active in the Order of the Arrow (an honor society within the Boy Scouts which is focused on community service) until he is no longer eligible when he turns 21.
“Although my work, my education, and my extracurricular and social activities have my life in a stranglehold right now, and probably will until I graduate college, I plan on being an adult leader in in a troop when I settle down somewhere; and hopefully I will have a son of my own become an Eagle Scout,” Bradish said. “I will continue to go to any meetings and campouts that I can until I leave for college. Just because I’ve aged out of the Boy Scouts doesn’t mean I’ve aged out of the community, and I will continue to take pride in the Boy Scouts long after I have left New Richmond.”