By Judy Tacyn
Tim Keller started scouting in first grade at Monsignor Slade Catholic School in Glen Burnie. Seven years later, the Pasadena resident is the latest scout to earn the prestigious Eagle rank from Troop 855, based out of St. Martin’s-in-the-Field in Severna Park.
Keller, a freshman at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore, planned to carry a heavy class schedule. “I wanted to complete my Eagle project before I started high school,” he said, “so I started planning mid-June of 2018.”
For his Eagle project, Keller combined his faith and his family to come up with a plan to build a fire pit at his parish, Our Lady of the Chesapeake Catholic Church in Pasadena.
“My family has a fire pit in our backyard and we spend a lot of good quality family time around it,” said Keller. “I wanted to create a fire pit for my youth group so that they too could have a place to come together.”
Tim Janiszewski, pastoral associate for youth ministry at Our Lady of the Chesapeake, said the youth group will huddle around the fire pit for cookouts and small group gatherings in the evenings.
“The parish will also use it for our Easter vigil mass as we begin our most sacred celebration outdoors around the fire pit,” he said.
Keller collected donations to purchase gravel, landscape tarps and concrete for the job. After two months of planning and gathering supplies, 20 scouts completed the project over two days last August. Janiszewski said the fire pit has already been put to good use.
“There’s something special about sitting around a fire that encourages people to open up and share,” Janiszewski said. “We are looking forward to having many faith talks around our new fire pit, thanks to Tim and his Boy Scout troop.”
At Keller’s Court of Honor ceremony on March 9, Troop 855 Scoutmaster Jim Brooks praised Keller for his dedication to scouting and growth from Cub Scout to Eagle.
“I’ve had a lot of fun watching Tim grow from a kid who was happy to follow, to a confident scout who took up the leadership mantle really well,” Brooks said. “He’s taken on every challenge and requirement with zest. He has a personality that will always bring the moment up, and we can always count on him for a smile. The younger scouts really look up to him.”
Keller is patrol leader of the Bulldogs patrol. Brooks called Keller “an inspiration to the younger members of his patrol, especially related to STEM and merit badge activities. He has taken the initiative on several occasions to create opportunities for him and his peers to earn advancement.”
Keller also serves as the troop webmaster responsible for maintaining the website, and he’s in charge of creating and editing a weekly electronic troop newsletter.
“Leadership in the troop got me out of my comfort zone; being a leader in scouting is fun and hard at the same time,” Keller said. “Sometimes it’s hard to corral the younger scouts, but I also enjoy the role of mentor or helper. I like to help them work their way through scouting.”
Keller’s leadership is also recognized by his faith community.
“Tim is new to our youth ministry this year as a freshman, but he is already a leader in his small group and often is a guiding force in our discussions,” Janiszewski said. “He has an outstanding character. He is not afraid to speak his mind but always does so with respect. He’s a great benefit to our youth group and evangelizes naturally.”
Keller said he hopes that a future Eagle project will include building benches around the new fire pit.