SHOHOLA - Sean Rinkel is one step closer to attaining the rank of Eagle. A junior at Delaware Valley High School and a current Life Scout in Shohola Troop 76, Rinkel recently replaced the stairs at Shohola Falls for his Eagle Scout project.
With the help of family and friends, Rinkel was able to overcome obstacles that included initially setting the steps too far apart. Meghan, Rinkel’s mother said measurements with the spacing was a task, because the spacing between the boards was important and, at two different points a rotary hammer broke. Rinkel said everything else went well.
The idea for his project came after he learned that the Pennsylvania Game Commission had planned on replacing the steps. With the help of his father Herb, Rinkel designed the stairs with a computer program. To remove the old stairs that were thought to be at least 17 years old, had rotted and were similar to railroad ties, Rinkel and his volunteers had to blow them out, which made working a challenge because the top of the stairs were gone and so, they had to hop down the hill and work their way up. There were 24 steps originally, but in the end Rinkel built 32 and a railing.
Rinkel thought of the idea a year ago and since then, he started planning, fundraising and do what was necessary to work towards the highest rank a Boy Scout can earn. Now, with his project complete, Rinkel still has paperwork to do, along with a few merit badges; but he expects to be done with all the details in a matter of a month or so.
Once he learned that the stairs needed to be replaced, Rinkel said he had no other ideas for a project, in part because he had visited the falls for years and so, there was a personal connection to the location of the project.
To do the task, after receiving approval from a board, Rinkel had to raise funds and consequently, he started a Go Fund Me campaign and raised nearly $2,500. Plus, he contacted businesses and organization that included the Lions Club, which supported his efforts.
While Rinkel has led others as a patrol leader within his troops before, it was his first time leading such a large project. Although he has helped other scouts with their Eagle Scout projects, Rinkel said leading one was “kind of though.” He explained that, making sure everyone had something to do was “very interesting” because of the efforts of the volunteers. Since he had Scouts as young as 12 years old helping, to ensure everyone had something to do, Rinkel had the younger Scouts rake gravel and pick up trash while older Scouts worked with cement  and on the stairs. Once the younger Scouts observed the older Scouts, Rinkel said they seemed to catch on. Teaching the young scouts, “felt pretty good” as they were learning new skills. He didn’t anticipate teaching the younger scouts such skills and the best part of being a leader, was watching everyone work towards the same goal.
Before his project was complete, one thing Rinkel said he had learned was to consider the workspace before assigning jobs. Overall, the project came together “pretty well” because there were few problems.
It is the many outdoor activities and being with friends that Rinkel said he enjoys about Boy Scouts, because he likes the hands-on activities that include knot tying and building things out of rope and sticks.
A fellow Scout, Aiden Stone helped Rinkel with his project and while he has been a part of other Eagle Scout projects, this was different because they were working on the hill. Arranging the stairs wasn’t easy Stone said, but they made it happen. In the end, the project was “great.”
Meghan said she is “super proud” of her son because he took on a “huge undertaking,” that has great sentiment to the family and so, aside from the family’s personal connection, it is rewarding knowing that his efforts will benefit the entire community. Taking on the role of leader was something Meghan felt he did well, because he communicated with the people who had the knowledge to get the work done.
At this time Rinkel is planning on attending the University of Pittsburgh, where he will study mechanical engineering. Rinkel thanked everyone for their assistance because they were a “huge help” and their efforts meant a lot, because they were helping him to work towards something special.