Clinton Township teen learns character, leadership en route to Eagle Scout designation

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published June 25, 2018

 Joshua Herbst, of Clinton Township, is ready to celebrate his Eagle Scout designation July 1 at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library.

Joshua Herbst, of Clinton Township, is ready to celebrate his Eagle Scout designation July 1 at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library.

Photo provided by Julie Herbst

 Joshua Herbst stands with Keina Romanelli, who feeds and cares for homeless cat colonies. For his Eagle Scout project, Herbst arranged for shelters to be built for the cats to use in the winter.

Joshua Herbst stands with Keina Romanelli, who feeds and cares for homeless cat colonies. For his Eagle Scout project, Herbst arranged for shelters to be built for the cats to use in the winter.

Photo provided by Julie Herbst

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Joshua Herbst, 16, of Clinton Township, will be a junior this fall at Chippewa Valley High School. But before that, he will become an Eagle Scout.

A ceremony will take place July 1 at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, 40900 Romeo Plank Road in Clinton Township, for Herbst and other members of Troop 391, who meet in Shelby Township, 

Herbst said he was first inspired to become a scout in fifth grade, knowing some boys his age who were Webelos — an acronym for “We’ll be loyal scouts.” Already having an admiration for the outdoors, in the form of hiking and camping, he persuaded his parents, Julie and Christopher, to let him join.

Joshua is an active member of the Order of the Arrow, which equates to the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts. He is also active with National Youth Leadership Training.

“I’m extremely proud of him,” Julie Herbst said. “There’s a strong sense of pride that a child sets out for at a very young age and accomplishes his goal.”

For his Eagle Scout project, Joshua wanted to do something related to animals. More specifically, he found an opportunity to make shelters. A friend introduced him to Keina Romanelli, a woman who has been feeding and caring for homeless cat colonies for years and was in need of structures to keep them warm in the winter.

Joshua was “beyond enthusiastic” to offer his aid in what he deemed a charitable crusade. The planning and design phases took several attempts. He had to earn his own money for the project budget, and then get feedback from his troop and Boy Scout council.

He said the thought of going in front of a council was nerve-wracking, but the actual interview was not. He already knew everyone — who he called “invaluable players in my journey to attaining Eagle.”

Friendships derived from his longtime Boy Scout experience is his favorite part, meeting boys his age whom he might not have never met otherwise. He also said scouting experiences have brought him more joy, experience and character building than anything else he could have ever imagined.

“I have fulfilled a vision which I had set for myself in grade school,” he said. “The title gives me great pride and joy, knowing I have accomplished such a challenge. (It’s) a feat which was not a simple task, for it was ripe with tests, such as requiring the accumulation of many merit badges, service hours, leadership time and the construction of the feral cat shelters for my Eagle project.”

He hopes to attend the College for Creative Studies to become an illustrator, and he would like to eventually find a job in the video game industry as a game designer.

Julie said her son’s experience has helped him learn life skills, such as leadership, interview skills and empathy.

“He felt a great goal and wanted to give to others,” she said. “It sets up a model character in your son, makes you proud you instilled that in your child.”