Article: Brothers in Scouting

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Nov. 24, 2008

ST. CHARLES – Chad Schaeffer has panned for gold, gotten too close to bears and seen mountain lions while riding horses in New Mexico.

Which makes the 25-year-old St. Charles resident just your average Eagle Scout, really.

“There was stuff I did in Scouting that I never would have done the rest of my life,” Chad says.

His brothers will attest to that. Scouting is a family affair for Schaeffer. His brother A.J., 23, also is an Eagle Scout and the last Schaeffer brother, Jonathan, 18, had his Eagle Scout ceremony on Nov. 9, making the Schaeffer brothers three-for-three.

Their father, Carl Schaeffer, 50, of St. Charles, couldn’t be more thrilled.

“I’m very proud of all three of them,” Carl said. “I saw early on with Chad a maturing project that came with Scouting.”

At a time when becoming an Eagle Scout isn’t necessarily a goal of many teenagers, the Schaeffer brothers have proved the exception to the rule.

“I was really drawn by the gratification of accomplishment,” says A.J., who has used his Eagle Scout status on resumes and now works for a marketing firm in Rosemont.

“[Employers] know what reaching Eagle Scout means. It shows your ability to be a leader among a large group of people.”

The youngest brother, Jonathan, knew he was going to follow in his brothers’ footsteps. The most recent Schaeffer Eagle Scout earned his badge by helping to restore and paint the barn by the St. Charles East football field.

“They were good role models with how they dealt with their lives,” Jonathan says, “and I wanted to follow that same path.”

That path was started by Chad, who earned his Eagle Scout badge by helping to put up the benches around the fire bowl at Leroy Oaks Forest Preserve.

“I never was a Scout,” his father said, “but early on I saw a change in Chad and I knew I wanted my boys in Scouting. He was the start of it and has been a pretty good role model for his younger brothers.”

Chad saw the impact his Eagle Scout project made during the senior football picnic in his final year of high school. Before the benches were put around the fire bowl, people used telephone poles put on their side.

“It’s kind of cool to see how you made an impact,” Chad says. “[Scouting] changes you a lot. It makes you feel like you have the tools necessary to succeed in life.”

And just like his dad helped him get into Scouting, Chad one day hopes to be able to pass on the favor.

“When I have kids,” Chad says, “I want them to able to do it, too.”

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