ENID, Okla. — On March 27 Enid residents got their “Little Sister” back on the courthouse Square, and Tuesday night the Boy Scout responsible for putting her there got his Eagle.
Cimarron Council Eagle Scout Board of Review met Tuesday, to discuss Jaden Jenkins’ overall project to restore Enid’s “Little Sisters of Liberty” statue and place it back on the courthouse Square, where it had been missing since it was damaged in a storm in July 2014.
Jenkins was asked to discuss his Eagle Scout project and overall tenure in Scouting and what he learned along the way and hoped to learn in the future.
“We’re not interested in bringing candidates into this room and turning them into Eagle Scouts,” said board chairman Brandon Harvey, adding that Jenkins and others before him and after need to show why they are ready to be Eagle Scouts
After discussion with Jenkins and among themselves, the five member board — comprised of Harvey, Brad Waken, Chris Trojan, Shaun Cummings and Monty Gearhart — determined that the overall project along with Jenkins’ history in Scouting were worthy of the Eagle Scout designation.
“I made it,” Jenkins said to his grandfather in the waiting room outside where the discussion took place. “I’m relieved. My biggest problem definitely was my nerves.”
Each of the board members spoke to the newest Cimarron Council Eagle Scout, congratulating him and advising him to learn from experiences such as these and the months he spent spearheading a project that saw a staple statue back on the Square for what he says — based on planning and materials — will be decades into the future.
It was nearly two years in the making, as Jenkins had just earned the Scouting rank of Life and was beginning to think about his project for Eagle, the highest rank earned in the Boy Scouts of America program.
As a resident of Oklahoma City, Jenkins had worked his way up the ranks of the BSA a little differently than some of his peers.
“I’m a lone Scout,” Jenkins said.
He explained he wanted to be a part of Scouting but was unable to attend meetings due to school, extracurricular and sports commitments. So he did what any boy in his situation might do, he turned to his grandfather.
Bobby Schultz, longtime Scout executive/CEO of Cimarron Council BSA, agreed to mentor his grandson, monitoring his Scouting projects and requirements through the years.
Scouts advancement isn’t age- or grade-related, according to scouting magazine.org, and Scouts with “support and guidance from parents and Scout leaders,” progress at their own speed.
Jenkins said he attained his camping requirements mainly with a troop out of Ponca City and also worked with Scouts in Enid and a Scouting “crew” he started. He worked with those groups or solo on merit badges and other requirements.
During his Scouting career, he earned the “BSA Triple Crown of High Adventure” and “Grand Slam of High Adventure” with treks to New Mexico, St. Thomas Virgin Islands, Minnesota and Virginia, he was a four-time recipient of the “50 Miler Award” and he was one of 13 Scouts chosen nationwide to present the Report to the Nation to leaders in Washington, D.C., where he met House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Mitch McConnell and was chosen as one of the Scouts to personally present the report to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
He was nominated for a Meritorious Service award for outstanding effort in an emergency situation when a fellow Scout experienced breathing problems on a swimming and sailing expedition.
Jenkins also represented the Cimarron Council at the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia and was the first youth member to serve as a member of the Cimarron Council executive board.
But Enid residents who ventured downtown one Saturday in late March will always remember him as the Boy Scout who restored the “statue of liberty” on the downtown Square.
In the summer of 2019, Jenkins learned about the “Little Sisters of Liberty,” a replica of the Statue of Liberty purchased by Scouts of the Great Salt Plains Council, predecessor to today’s Cimarron Council, in the mid-20th Century. The statue was damaged during a thunderstorm in 2014, and remained in storage because county officials were unable to find an affordable solution to getting “Little Sister” repaired.
Turns out a little leadership was all that was needed. Jenkins took on the task as his Eagle project, after approval from the Cimarron Council board and Garfield County commissioners.
He found storage for the statue during repairs and coordinated efforts with local and area companies to repair and restore the statue and create a new frame. Jenkins also did his part on weekends to clean and repair both the statue and the base.
His efforts were rewarded, as with little fanfare the statue was reinstalled on the Square, where it now sits once again on the southeast corner, just east of the courthouse. Jenkins said he was honored when people thanked him as they were passing by.
“When I saw it I was so proud,” said Russ Frazee, with Garfield Furniture, adding that he was just driving by and saw Jenkins and Jereme Holsten replacing the statue.
The senior at Del City Destiny Christian School finished just in time, as he is set to graduate and on April 25 will celebrate his 18th birthday, when Scouts are no longer considered a youth participant.
It has been a busy time for him, Jenkins said, but a memorable one, and the experience he has had during the past months and Scouting as a whole has been rewarding.
“I knew if I took this on it would be a big project,” he said, “but it would be a good one.”
Big enough for an Eagle badge and a memory that hopefully will stand tall on the courthouse Square for years to come.