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Lake Oswego teen uses sustainability project to earn Hornaday medal

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Bennett Sorensen is still striving to establish a tradition of achievement for future Lake Oswego Boy Scouts.When it comes to being a Boy Scout, Bennett Sorensen is almost in a class by himself.

He recently received the Hornaday Silver Medal for Conservation, becoming only the second Oregon Boy Scout in 100 years achieve this honor.

Of course, his proud family back in Lake Oswego is celebrating.

“This is the ultimate youth conservation award in the USA,” said his father, George Sorensen. “This rarely earned award is like doing five giant Eagle Scout award projects plus a number of additional merit badges.”

Now studying for a medical career at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., Bennett is most happy about how his work changed his life.

“It challenged me,” he said. “It let me discover new abilities I had in leadership and other skills.”

Because of his accomplishment, Bennett has also helped make Lake Oswego a more sustainable city. His work here is what pushed him over the top on his project and made him qualify for the silver medal.

“My final project involved the churches in Lake Oswego,” Bennett said. “I spoke to a lot of congregations and did recycling drives at each church. I had a day when I showed how to properly recycle paint, batteries, televisions and electronic appliances.

“I hope I created a long-lasting impact. Especially on showing people where to take items for recycling.”

The person who benefited most from this remarkable effort was Sorensen himself.

“I worked on it so long,” Bennett said. “I became more and more engaged and more and more it became my goal to contribute toward sustainability. I learned so much in doing this.”

A proud member of Lake Oswego Troop 432, Sorensen moved here as a seventh-grader.

“It took about a year to figure out my place,” he said. “Then I discovered Troop 432 and it got me going.”

Sorensen, a graduate of Lakeridge High School, said his ultimate goal in Boy Scouts will be to leave a legacy for upcoming Scouts.

“I want to make sure I have a lasting impact,” he said. “I want to leave a tradition so kids will have as meaningful an opportunity as I had.”

Sorensen plans to keep right on learning and helping people. At college he is majoring in molecular biology and minoring in politics.

“I want to learn how to use science to help other people improve their lives,” he said. “I’m a big nerd. The human body fascinates me. New things about it are coming out all the time.”

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