Deteriorated carved Christ statue gets renovation through Eagle Scout project

A local Eagle Scout project has resulted in the renovation of what had been a deteriorated carved statue of Christ in the open air patio at Trinity Lutheran Church in Princeton.

Eagle Scout Sam Christenson stands next to the carved statue of Christ that was renovated through a civic project he supervised to complete a requirement for his Eagle badge.

That statue of Christ holding a lamb, that was created at least two decades ago, was in such bad shape it was listing badly on its rotting base that was originally a tree that had never been cut off at the bottom.

Sam Christenson, 18, of Princeton, was the Boy Scout who supervised the project that included that renovation and it helped him attain the Eagle rank pin that he received during a court of honor ceremony at Trinity Lutheran on Aug. 5. The project also included the building of a seating bench and three big flower planters, all out of cedar.

Christenson started in Cub Scouts when in the first grade and moved up through the ranks in Troop 16, where his father Kenny Christenson is now the scoutmaster.

Sam said last week that it was assumed he would attain Eagle because of the higher than normal fraction of members in his troop becoming Eagle Scouts over the years.

Christenson chose the renovation of the Christ statue and the construction of the flower boxes and bench for his Eagle civic project, he said, because Trinity’s patio needed an upgrade.

Christenson had also noticed that the patio lacked seating.

Eagle Scout civic projects require the Eagle Scout candidate to mostly supervise their civic project rather than do all the work. The project took place last fall and Christenson oversaw the work of about 20 workers in the project. They included troop members and some adults.

One of the tasks in renovating the statue was to cut if off at its base. That resulted in removing much of the rot but it also cut up slightly into the feet of the statue so that part of the feet bottoms had to be glued back on.

Once removing the tree base that the statue had been attached to, the project workers built a masonry base and installed metal reinforcement bars to go inside the bottom of the statue. Another part of the renovation was applying a wood sealer to it.

The physical work took about three days and cost almost $400, of which Christenson figures he contributed about $50. The rest came from a fund at the church and from donations from church members.

Other Boy Scout


Christenson says that attaining the Eagle rank was his most memorable experience in Boy Scouting. His next most memorable, he said, was not so pleasant. A flying spoon broke into the flesh on his forehead, causing some bleeding, though the wound was not serious.

A fellow scout was throwing a rusty spoon around, that had been found, and instead of hitting its intended target, it hit the table Christenson was seated at and then bounced up and into his head.

Some of Christenson’s most valuable experiences, he said, were ones in which he made some mistake, calling that useful because he learned from those incidents. The only such incident that Christenson could recall was the time his one shoe caught on fire. It happened when he was at a campfire and allowed his foot to rest too close to the blaze.

Other scouts thought the incident was “hilarious,” Christenson remembers. The fire on his shoe was put out right away and he did not get burns from it, but the lesson was obvious.

One of the “awesome” experiences that Christenson described from his Boy Scout days, was when he got to do white-water kayaking for the first time. That was two years ago on a river in Wisconsin, and Christenson has kayaked since. He would like to do more of that but would want to do it with another person and finding someone to do that is difficult, he said.

He had canoed for some years before the white-water kayaking, but in those cases the canoeist avoids rapids, he noted.

The excitement of white-water kayaking for the first time came at good juncture in his life, he said, explaining that it gave him a feeling of “danger,” and sent his “heart pumping.” He had, for some time, gotten into a rut, only helping fellow scouts expand their experiences and not his own, he said.

Christenson added that he has applied the leadership skills he gained in Boy Scouts to other activities in life.

Christenson does well in water, having performed well on the Princeton High School swim team and becoming certified as a swimming lifesaver.

He originally had not intended to go into swimming, more than just wanting to meet his Boy Scout requirements, and didn’t learn to swim until in seventh grade. Family friend Chuck Zarns, of Princeton, who worked with the PHS swimmers, helped inspire him to continue advancing his swimming skills, he said.

Christenson is now trying to get onto the swim team at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, this fall, where he will be studying in a premed program. His goal is to become a doctor.

If Christenson reaches his career goal, he may someday think back to the time he helped fix the wounds in the wooden statue of Christ in that little church courtyard in his hometown.

Christenson notes that there is still some rot inside the statue that his project was not able to deal with. Now it will be up to the parishioners to keep a closer eye on the statue so it doesn’t go as far into disrepair as it had.