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An Eagle Scout at only 13, Minnesota boy is driven by service

At the young age of thirteen, Phillip Lorenz of Woodbury earned his Eagle Scout and is a member of Troop 9005 of Woodbury, August 20, 2018. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

WOODBURY, Minn.—Phillip Lorenz defied the norm and earned Eagle Scout at age 13, but his Boy Scout journey is far from complete.

The Woodbury native is still camping and chasing scouting experiences this summer. He's training for a leadership role with his troop. And he's planning ahead for a life in scouting.

"Some of our scouts take to (scouting) like a duck to water and that is Phillip," scoutmaster Myron Jacobson said. "He has a passion for scouting, he has a passion for the outdoors."

To get to the Scout's top rank, Lorenz's busy schedule revolved around the outdoors and public service.

On the swim team, he sped to troop meetings after practices. He built feral cat houses for the Animal Humane Society from materials he gathered with a recycling drive. And he built field desks to become an Eagle Scout. A field desk is a handheld surface that students can take notes on and is able to store supplies within. They were given to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and donated to a school.

He and his mother set a goal for Lorenz to become an Eagle Scout when he was 15, which he beat by two years. Even then, he had 10 more merit badges than required to advance to the rank. He will soon become a senior patrol leader, an executive position responsible for his Woodbury troop's operations.

"It's really nice knowing I belong (in scouting)," Lorenz said.

'To do ' list

Lorenz officially earned the scouts' top rank in March but decided to postpone a ceremony for friends and family until September. His summer was already busy with scouting activities.

He is one of 89 scouts in Woodbury's Troop 9005 and is the youngest Eagle Scout that scoutmaster Jacobson has ever seen.

Eagle Scout requires completion of a service project, an application process and a presentation before scouting officials. Jacobson says the average age for an Eagle Scout tends to be just more than 17.

Jacobson said he worries about scouts who move through the ranks so quickly for fear they are rushing and it will mark the end of their scouting careers.

"I'm not worried about Phillip, though," he said.

Lorenz says there is plenty more on his "to do" list.

He hopes to earn a Supernova Award, which recognizes superior achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He's had his eye on Sea Base, an aquatics program in the Florida Keys that features sailing and fishing. And once he's an adult, Lorenz says he would like to be a scoutmaster himself.

Service project

Lorenz loves the outdoors. He has been camping most of his life and outdoor excursions are his favorite parts of scouting. It was only fitting that his Eagle Scout project aimed to boost environmental education.

Lorenz, close friends and family built 30 field desks over two days. Lorenz relied on donations from local hardware stores for supplies, getting help from Lampert Lumber and his father's carpentry business.

Some of the desks found their way to North St. Paul's Cowern Elementary School.

"I want them to have a good opportunity to go outdoors and learn about (the environment) and not ruin it," Lorenz said. "I want to keep the outdoors alive for a while."

Lorenz will enter the eighth grade this fall at Woodbury Middle School. His mother, Tiffany Hanson, couldn't be more proud.

Hanson wanted her son to learn basic life skills at a minimum when he joined scouting.

"I hope he grows up to be a happy, well-adjusted kid who gives back to the community," she said of her son. "When we give back to communities, we have great communities."

Hanson said Lorenz's transition from being dependent on his parents to becoming a resourceful and motivated teenager stood out to her.

"He had this insane drive to go and get this done," she said. "He knocked it out of the park."