Making a Difference

This article was posted on: June 21, 2022

Alyxandria finds fun and purpose in Scouting

Alyxandria Lunemann, 14, of New Auburn, joined the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) when she was 11. Two years later, she achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, something most Scouts don’t master until age 17.

The mixture of service and outdoor activities was a perfect fit for the active girl who loves science and nature. Alyxandria learned about the organization from her two older brothers, Forest and Colton, also Eagle Scouts.

“Scouting was my life when I was little,” she says. “I joined as soon they opened the Boy Scout program to girls.”

Her mother Janis talked to her sons before Alyxandria joined BSA to make sure the program would be a good and positive fit. “Both her brothers said it was a good program and there was no reason she shouldn’t get the same perks as the boys,” Janis said.

“The guys and the girls really complement each other,” Alyxandria says. “We get along.”

Alyxandria at Scouting cleanup.

Janis likes the team aspect in BSA where the boys and girls learn to work together to problem solve. Alyxandria appreciates the opportunity to develop close friendships with the boys and girls while working in nature, learning new skills and camping.

“It’s a great way to learn a lot of important basic life skills,” she says. “You get this sense of family you don’t get anywhere else. You get to make so many memories.”

Alyxandria has shared her experiences with her mother, Janis, a regular volunteer for the troop. “My mom comes with me on everything,” says Alyxandria.

Janis was involved in Girl Scouts growing up but appreciates the opportunity to experience the full range of Boy Scout activities with Alyxandria and to provide the troop with a necessary chaperone for the girls.

Alyxandria’s Eagle Scout project was done to benefit the Community Cats Rescue and Adoption Center in Rice Lake.

Animals and nature are an important part of life at the Lunemann house, and her love for cats inspired Alyxandria’s Eagle Scout project.

During the pandemic, the family was not able to volunteer at the Humane Society due to restrictions. They discovered the Community Cats Rescue and Adoption Center in Rice Lake, which did allow in-person volunteer work.

The nonprofit provides shelter, sterilization and other medical services for cats and kittens. Its funding comes solely from donations from private individuals. The building used to be a church and houses approximately 100-200 cats who are waiting to be adopted into permanent homes.

“I adore cats,” says Alyxandria. “This is a place that we discovered during lockdown. It’s a pretty tiny place.”

One of the things Alyxandria noticed right away was the lack of places for cats to have time alone. She came up with an idea for utilizing wall space with ramps and shelving to allow the cats different spots to get away from the kitty crowd. From start to finish, the project took her two months to complete.

Alyxandria began organizing the project in December 2020 and the cat ramp installation was completed in January 2021. In addition to planning out the logistics for the ramps, Alyxandria had to get donations for materials and supplies and then purchase the items needed for her project.

“It’s like running an actual business,” says Janis of the work required for an Eagle Scout project.

“It definitely helped develop my leadership skills,” Alyxandria adds.

She knew the project would not require a large group of volunteers, so Alyxandria reached out to four of her friends in BSA. Her role the day of construction was to supervise the two boys and two girls who served as her construction crew.

“I only had four Scouts, but they were enough because they were hard workers,” says Alyxandria. “The thing that I didn’t expect was not being able to help. I was itching to help.”

The cats loved the new set up and immediately took advantage of the opportunity to move upward instead of just around the building. Alyxandria was pleased with the outcome, as was the Community Cats Rescue and Adoption Center.

Alyxandria’s achievements in BSA have earned her some notoriety. Part of the Eagle Scout requirements is to get letters of recommendation. Normally, a Scout has three or four letters to submit, but Alyxandria had 15—every person she contacted responded to her request for a recommendation.

Recognized as the first female Eagle Scout in Chippewa County, Alyxandria is also the youngest female Eagle Scout in the Chippewa Valley Council. Her enthusiasm for Scouting and becoming an Eagle Scout has inspired the other young men and women in her troop to work toward their own Eagle Scout projects.

For her religion merit badge, Alyxandria worked with her maternal grandmother, who is a retired religious education teacher. The family belongs to St. John the Baptist Parish in Cooks Valley, where they help with the parish fall festival and family events. Janis’ family has belonged to St. John the Baptist Parish since the 1920s.

Although Alyxandria has achieved the highest rank in BSA, she isn’t done with the organization.

“I do intend to stick around until I’m 18 to help out the younger girls,” she says.

When she isn’t busy with school or Scouting, Alyxandria is probably swimming. She has been a competitive swimmer since she was very young.

The water is a place where she can be at peace. “Swimming has always been a natural talent of mine,” says Alyxandria. “When I was little, I would go out to swim all the time with my brothers.”

“She learned how to swim with her two brothers,” says Janis. “Her oldest brother Forest was a lifeguard.”

Alyxandria’s first swimming lesson actually came after her first year of swimming competitions.

Lunemann Eagle Scouts (left to right) Forest, Alyxandria and Colton

In addition to swimming and Scouting, Alyxandria’s older brothers also introduced her to music and Minecraft. Though older than Alyxandria, they welcomed her into their activities from the time she was young.

Although her brothers made the introductions, Alyxandria has taken each activity and put her own mark on it. She understands that focus and hard work can help her make a difference in the world around her.

Story by Mary Kay McPartlin
Published in the May/June 2022 issue of Catholic Life Magazine

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