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Thirteen-year-old Boy Scout goes for Eagle

Michael Nyseth, 13, cuts out pieces for the audio/visual cabinet he is making for Trinity Lutheran Church as his Eagle Scout Project with the help of Hammond-area woodworkers Charlie VanDusartz and George Vondriska.

Michael Nyseth has 36 merit badges. He went from second class to first class in six months and is now a member of Life Scout Troop 161. Nyseth is 13 years old and now he is beginning his Eagle Scout project.

Nyseth is building an audio/visual control cabinet for his church, Trinity Lutheran of Hammond.

"Our church has a closet that's crammed full of all our electronics," Nyseth said. "I figured; why not make that cleaner, so I decided to make a cabinet."

Typically, Boy Scouts trying for Eagle status are around 16 or 17 years of age. Nyseth said getting to the point of starting his Eagle Scout project at age 13 has taken "a lot of work and effort."

Nyeseth said he chose his Eagle Scout project because he saw a need for an audio/visual cabinet and because he enjoys woodworking.

"I get to create something and then I get to make it and put it to use," Nyseth said. While he has finished a wood carving badge, Nyseth said woodworking is not one of his 36 merit badges, yet.

Woodworking is something he has long enjoyed and he said he is excited to combine Boy Scouts and woodworking in this project.

Another reason Nyseth had for choosing his particular project was the fact he works with the audio/visual equipment during services.

"I run the Power Point there," Nyseth said. "And you kind of have to sit outside of the room and then you may or may not have to go back into that room and adjust the microphone. It's a hassle."

Nyseth said the new cabinet will streamline things, keeping the audio and visual equipment all together, so the person running it does not have to go back and forth between advancing the Power Point presentation to adjusting the microphone's volume in the cluttered electronics room.

Nyseth said he had to get approval from the Eagle River's Eagle Council (his local Eagle Scout Council) as well as from the Trinity Lutheran Church council. Once he got approval from both councils, Nyseth said he put together a Power Point presentation to show to Trinity Lutheran church.

"I spent numerous Sundays at a table asking for donations from Trinity Lutheran Church members," Nyseth said. He also solicited donations from local businesses.

Nyseth's uncle helped him draw up specific plans for the A/V cabinet. However, once it came time to cut the wood, Nyseth had to find more help.

"Since we do not have equipment to cut the wood, I had to find someone who was willing to help me."

Nyseth got help from Charlie VanDusartz, of VanDusartz Quality Woodworking, and George Vondriska of The Wild Earth School (of woodworking). VanDusartz and Vondriska helped Nyseth cut the pieces for his cabinet.

Nyseth is now sanding and staining the pieces and started putting the base of the cabinets together on Saturday, Nov. 17. Nyseth said he is putting the cabinet together in stages. When it is finished, it should look like a large, L-shaped desk with a roll-top. There will be drawers to store the church's DVD and VHS players, as well as spaces for the sound system and other audio/visual equipment.

"Since I am doing this in stages, I have to arrange help in small quantities of three to four people at a time," Nyseth said. "I am always looking for donations or equipment."

Nyseth said he has been working to coordinate a schedule for help from among his friends, family and fellow Scouts. He said managing these schedules had helped him improve his leadership skills.

"This is to teach me to be a leader," Nyseth said of the Eagle Scout project.

Nyseth's mother, Michelle Nyseth, said she is proud of her son.

"This is an accomplishment to be 13 and do it (begin an Eagle Scout project) now," Michelle Nyseth said.

Michelle Nyseth said Scouting is her son's passion.

"He loves doing this," Michelle Nyseth said. "He loves everything about it."

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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