GLADSTONE - Anyone who travels north from Escanaba on U.S. 2 and 41 and approaches Gladstone need only look at the shoreline of Little Bay de Noc to see the "Gladstone" sign on the slope that descends into the water. The sign is just one of the many community service projects dotting the Gladstone landscape that are the result of a Boy Scout from Troop 466 hoping to attain his Eagle Award, Boy Scouting's highest honor.
The sign was the handiwork of longtime scout leader, Anders Nyberg, who completed it while a Boy Scout in 1977.
With Boy Scout Troop 466 of Gladstone celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, it comes as no surprise that Nyberg, as the face of the troop, having served as Scoutmaster for the past 20 years, was chosen to serve as the grand marshal in today's Fourth of July Parade.
Anders Nyberg has been chosen as grand marshal of today’s Gladstone Fourth of July parade. (Courtesy photo)
He stepped down as Scoutmaster in the fall of 2012.
Born and raised in Gladstone, Nyberg started his Scouting career with Troop 471 at the age of 12. A year later he transferred to Troop 466. He went to the National Jamboree in 1977; received the Eagle (Boy Scouts highest honor) that same year; was selected for Order of the Arrow and attended the Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp in 1973 and again as Patrol Leader in 1976.
Recalling his decision to complete the Gladstone sign as his Eagle project, Nyberg said, "I knew it had to be something that would benefit the community and not any particular business. It couldn't even be a benefit to Scouting. I believe I'm the last Scout to become an Eagle who was never a Cub Scout first. I think that says a lot for the Cub Scouts."
But just completing the sign wasn't the end of Nyberg's responsibility. He has spent a considerable amount of time cleaning and painting the sign over the past 35 years.
After leaving the area to attend college at Central Michigan University, where he earned a degree in business administration and accounting, Nyberg returned to his hometown and the troop in 1984, this time as a committed adult leader.
"I have only missed a small number of activities with the troop," Nyberg stated. But his involvement has included far more activities that he missed, including yearly spring and fall camporees, Klondike Derbies, ski weekends, winter campouts, Jamboree on the Air/Internet, lock-ins, backpacking, canoeing, PEIF and some biking trips, winter retreats and Leadership Weekends.
Week-long trips included trips to Isle Royale, Boundary Waters, Copper Harbor, Camp Hiawatha (21 times), Woodbadge and 10 more Mackinac Island Scout Service Camps, including eight as the contingent Scoutmaster from 1993- 2005.
Nyberg's involvement isn't limited to working directly with the Scouts. He has also held numerous leadership positions with the local group and the district. Throughout the years, Nyberg has amassed a number of awards.
"I have been blessed to have awarded 27 Scouts their Eagle Award as Scoutmaster of Troop 466," Nyberg said with pride. "I think my greatest satisfaction has been watching Scouts become leaders and take on challenges on their own. I think kids today miss a lot by not getting outside and exploring."
But Scouting hasn't been Nyberg's only accomplishment. He is co-owner of Bay de Noc Lure in Gladstone along with his cousin, Dave Nyberg. As the son of Bay de Noc Lure owner, Carl Nyberg and his wife, Florence, Nyberg recalls working at the shop when he was only 14 years old.
The company, which manufactures the lure called "The Swedish Pimple," was initially started in 1955 as a hobby by Carl and his two brothers, Lloyd and Paul, and Nels, Harold and Ed Apelgren. In 1990, with only Carl, Lloyd, Ed and Nels remaining as co-owners, Anders and Dave bought out the four-way partnership and have continued the operation ever since.
In addition to a steady market in the United States and Canada, Nyberg said the company has established a growing market in Russia.
Even though Nyberg has stepped down as Boy Scout, he still recalls his years as a Scout and leader. "I had a good time in Scouting as a youth," he said. "That's part of being an Eagle Scout - giving back."