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Hunter Wilks (left), assisted by Dean Farmer and Toby Glennos of Boy Scout Troop 357, install irrigation pipe at Calvary Chapel of the Sierras

North Fork Resident Completes Requirements to Become Eagle Scout

NORTH FORK—Just before his eighteenth birthday, North Fork Boy Scout Hunter Wilks completed the requirements to become Troop 357’s latest Eagle Scout. That is the deadline any scout hoping to achieve the Eagle Scout rank must meet.

Hunter Wilks, Troop 357’s latest Eagle Scout

What is an Eagle Scout?

Eagle Scout is the highest rank achievable in the Boy Scouts of America organization. To attain this award, a scout must first earn a series of progressive ranks, during which time the Scout can earn merit

The first step involved removal of years-old barbed wire fencing. (Scroll to bottom of article for additional project photos.)

badges. Once a Scout attains the rank of First Class, the Scout must then demonstrate leadership skills. He or she must earn each of the next ranks of Star, Life, then ultimately Eagle Scout. It is a years’-long process requiring dedication and determination.

A Scout must earn at least 21 merit badges, 14 of which are mandatory, and the Scout must demonstrate “Scout Spirit.” He or she has to demonstrate leadership skills by planning, organizing, managing and executing a community service project. Before the project begins, the Scout obtains approval from the benefiting organization, his scoutmaster, troop committee and his local Scout council.

According to Wikipedia, “Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process. The Eagle Scout rank has been earned by over 2.5 million youth.

Troop 357

To give some depth to this achievement, North Fork Boy Scout Troop 357, sponsored by the North Fork Lions Club, has 50 years of continuous registration. According to scoutmaster Dave Smith, the troop dates back much earlier, but no recorded information exists to provide exact documentation.

Hunter first became a Cub Scout when he was about eight and has been active in scouting ever since.

Project Benefited Church


In consultation with Pastor Sam Tallmon of Calvary Chapel of the Sierras, Hunter determined to undertake a fencing and irrigation project to benefit the church. Although Hunter designed the project and ordered all the materials, Calvary Chapel paid for them.

Project Details

The project involved removing 200 feet of old barbed wire fence. Workers replaced that with white vinyl fencing near the property line between the church and Road 200. It included:

  • Trenching along the future fence line and back to well house
  • Connecting and burying electrical conduit
  • Covering the conduit with dirt
  • Laying and connecting irrigation pipe with risers for future watering of fruit trees to be planted by the church
  • Burying the waterline
  • Connecting the water line to sprinkler valve and then connecting to pump house water system
  • Installing 200 feet of vinyl fencing

He met with Pastor Sam to conceptualize the project, completed a preliminary planning form and then obtained approval from his Scoutmaster and troop, as well as his local council. 

Coordination with Calvary Chapel of the Sierras

Many hands helped with the project.

Hunter first met with Pastor Sam in August, 2023. He obtained all necessary approvals by late that month. He then prepared a list of materials, ordered them and had them delivered, so the project could get underway on September 30. 

Although Hunter led the project, he didn’t work alone. In fact, as requirements of his Eagle Project, he had to plan, provide leadership, work the project with the assistance of his troop and write his final report. Some of those participating with Hunter included committee chair Tim Wisseman, Scoutmaster Dave Smith and Hunter’s father, Jason Wilks, as well as Troop 357 Eagle Scout Hunter Ahrens. A total of 13 people assisted with various phases of the project, including all Troop 357 Scouts.

At the completion of the project, Pastor Sam said, “Hunter and the Scouts did a great job. I’m very pleased he decided to do his Eagle Scout project at our church. The fence they put up looks good, too.”

More Difficult than Anticipated

The project turned out to be more complicated than anticipated. The workers ran into buried pavement and rock when they began to trench. They also faced the removal of many-years-old barbed wire. Although

Close to completion.

adults operated the trencher and auger, scouts were involved in the remainder of the project, over a number of weekends. A delay took place in October when Hunter and his mother, Farida Wilks, undertook a two-week mission trip to Ethiopia. The project became complete on December 2, 2023—just in time for Hunter’s eighteenth birthday and project deadline of December 10. 

Hunter receives his official Eagle Scout rank at a Court of Honor to be held in the spring at a date yet to be determined. He has, however, completed the required board of review. He was granted approval as an Eagle Scout in mid-December.

Eagle Scouts from Troop 357

During the past 50 years of the troop’s existence, seven Troop 357 scouts have achieved Eagle Scout rank and two since 2019:  Jeremiah Stott (2019) and Hunter Ahrens (2020). Hunter becomes number nine.

One Troop 357 Eagle Scout, Eric Borden, is now a medical doctor. His parents ran W & G Market for a number of years. He, his wife and two children currently live in upstate New York, and his son, Trevor, also became an Eagle Scout a couple of years ago..

Two years of COVID kept the troop from being able to recruit, so they are just now drafting new members. The troop plans an official recruitment meeting later in 2024. Scoutmaster Dave Smith plans to announce a date.  

In general the North Fork troop numbers between eight to ten active members.  However, currently troop numbers are lower than that as several of the older Scouts present throughout Covid restrictions recently turned 18 and are no longer Scout age. Two prospective members have attended several meetings but have not yet submitted paperwork to join.

Historically Troop 357 has had small numbers due to North Fork’s small population, difficulty getting to meetings and competing outside activities. Smith says that one troop member currently is a First Class Scout, on his way to becoming a Star and is most likely Troop 357’s next Eagle, although that goal is still down the road.

Want to Know More About Scouting?

The Boy Scouts of America website describes the value of scouting:  “Discovery is at the heart of Scouting. Whether it’s a campout, derby car race, or hike on the trail, we believe every adventure helps us uncover a little more about ourselves. We build the foundations for humility and compassion–strengthening character through actions—to prepare youth for a lifetime of leadership.”

To get more information about Boy Scouts in general and Troop 357 in particular, contact Scoutmaster Dave Smith, telephone 559-877-2186. Watch for announcement of a recruitment date coming up soon.

Photographs Courtesy of Dave Smith, Troop 357 Scoutmaster

Disclaimer—Hunter Wilks happens to be the author’s favorite (only) grandson.


The first step was removal of years-old barbed wire fencing

Extensive trenching took place to accommodate irrigation lines

Installing the vinyl fence

Discussing the progress.

Hunter observes the progress of a post hole being dug.



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