Skip to comments.Boy Scout renovating fort trails for his Eagle Scout project
Posted on 12/05/2005 4:44:29 PM PST by SandRat
FORT HUACHUCA At 14, Daniel Rich is one part site supervisor and another part worker.
The Buena High School ninth-grader needs to be both, as he leads and does labor that hopefully will earn him the rank of Eagle Scout, as a member of Boy Scout Troop 431.
Sunday, Daniel had the support of others from his Fort Huachuca troop, a couple of scouts from Troop 444 in Sierra Vista, family members, friends and soldiers from Company B, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion and Headquarters Company of the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade in renovating trails on the posts Heritage Park.
The more than 40-acre park is where Capt. Samuel Marmaduke Whitside and his small cavalry detachment camped in 1877.
Whitside described the camp site as where a lively stream ran with pure cold mountain water.
In 1999, the site became Heritage Park, to honor the first place that went from a small detachment camp to todays more than 70,000 acre Fort Huachuca.
The historical significance of the area is longer than I have lived, Daniel said.
Although trails were constructed in 1999, they have deteriorated in the past half dozen years, and the need to work on the more than more than two miles of foot paths is evident.
For his project, Daniel has taken on a half-mile of the trail network.
Although Huachuca Creek no longer runs year-round, bringing the pure cold mountain water described by Whitside, the need to maintain the area is something Troop 431 has taken on to help scouts soar into becoming Eagles.
Monsoons have caused grass to grow, covering some of the trails.
And, during heavy rain storms, rushing water has moved rocks and debris over the paths.
Drought has caused trees to die and fall on to some parts of the path network.
Reestablishing the trails requires the combination of back-bending work involving shovels, axes and some mechanical equipment.
I have to supervise and work, Daniel said.
Reaching Eagle Scout is not just coming up with a project and directing how it will be done but requires doing work as well, he added.
Some parts of the original path needed widening, and he spoke with Staff Sgt. Amy Kurtz, who had some soldiers of Company B, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, saying he wanted stones that were the edge of part of a path moved further out. Kurtz, a drill sergeant, and other soldiers who are students at the Intelligence Center volunteer to help with projects on the post.
Mulch for the pathway comes from the post and was spread around the renovated parts of the trails by people using rakes.
Troop 431 Assistant Scoutmaster David Tyler, who is a sergeant major with the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, said the troop wants to be part of the parks upkeep.
Weve kind of adopted Heritage Park, he said.
Years ago, before the park was established, the area was used by scouts as a camp site.
For Daniel, perhaps eventually the area again can be a scout camp site.
It would fit in with what happened 128 years ago when Whitside and his detachment camped under the cottonwoods and sycamores, as pure cold water from the mountains flowed past them.
Once and Eagle, always an Eagle!
Good story! Best of luck to the young men.
The Eagle Scout project is one of the most ingenious requirements in existance.
The project is designed to make an Eagle candidate learn to plan a project, work with the project beneficiaries, work with a Scouter to whom the project must be explained in detai an then approved.And lastly he must somehow find and motivate Scouts or friends to do the work for free.
The Eagle candidate learns the frustrations of dealing with others, especially older others who aren't his mother and who must be delt with on their terms. He learns the lessons that people often fail to do what they say they will do and constant monitoring is necessary to keep things on track.
Some troops approve projects where the candidate does all himself, eliminating the valuable leadership lessons. Some troops approve projects that are too broad in scope and tax the resources too highly.
When done properly though, the Eagle Project is a fantastic opportunity to evelop a great set of leadership skills. Very few individuals ever have such an opportunity and especially not as a teen.
As a Scoutmaster (and a former Council Commissioner and you name it), I must admit my first response is to cringe when I heard the age "14" and the phrase "Eagle Scout" in the same sentence.
Before I am completely flamed, there are many young men who have the maturity to complete an Eagle Project at fourteen. A significant percentage of them would probably have learned more about themselves and about inspiring and managing their peers had they waited two years to work on their Eagle Project. Few non-Scouters realize what is involved in the Project and don't know that a major part of the project is planning, convincing others to underwrite the cost (you can't pay for it yourself), and inspiring your peers to donate their time and labor (the work of adults, including the Staff Sgt. shown in the picture, doesn't count toward the Scout's necessary peer support hours), among other elements.
Most fourteen year-old men are not mature enough to learn fully the lessons of an Eagle Scout project.
There are several reasons for fourteen year-old Eagle Scouts. In some cases, the young men are self-driven. In many cases, the fourteen year-old Eagle Scouts are driven by parents. I've seen more than my share of Eagle Projects by fourteen year-olds that are essentially the projects of parents; something the Troop Committee and/or the Scoutmaster should notice and stop. In other cases, there are Troops that push young men to make Eagle by fourteen or fifteen (on the theory that otherwise they'll lose 'em to fumes - car fumes and perfumes).
For fifty+ years, the percentage of Scouts who reached the rank of Eagle remained at 2%, give or take a tenth of a percentage point. In the last few years, and I mean just a very, very few years, the percentage has hit or exceeded 4% in part because of parental and unit pressures (and, in my opinion, a general weakening of the Troop Committe and Council approval standards for Eagle Scout projects). LDS unit percentages exceed the 4% mark, in part because of the tie between their church youth program and Scouting.
One excuse given for fourteen year-old Eagles is that they can then be leaders within the Troop. Bull hockey. They can be leaders wearing their heart-shaped Life Scout patch.
Most fourteen year-old Eagle Scouts who truly embrace the Scouting Spirit stay in the Troop until their 18th birthday. They would have learned more from their Eagle Scout experience had they waited until they matured to undertake their Eagle Scout project.
Just my two cents, and it doesn't apply to all young Eagles. I've had over thirty Eagle Scouts in my Troop since 1999. As a National Scout Jamboree Scoutmaster, I've seen another dozen of my scouts earn Eagle. Of forty Scouts on my Philmont treks, thirty-nine made Eagle Scout. In various roles, I've worked with other Scouts through their Life and Eagle ranks. I'm talking about the kind of young men I want my daughters to marry and my future Presidents, Generals, Ministers, and CEOs to be. And yet, almost all of them benefitted, or would have benefitted, by waiting until they were 16 or 17 to carry out their Eagle Scout project, in my humble opinion.
I appreciate your perspective, as always.
<FoghornLeghorn> Why that kid is sharper than a bowlin' ball, I tell ya! A bowlin' ball!</FoghornLeghorn>
"I used to be an Eagle, and a good old Eagle too."
excellent project! best of luck to him!
a local scout did a path improvement project at the back
of pats brothers house. many neighbors supported and helped
on that project too.
From observation of my son's troop, I agree wholeheartedly with you.
Our Eagle was 17 when he finished his project, and he was much more able to plan, document, negotiate, organize, secure funding, supervise, etc. than he would have been at an earlier age. Not to mention, he could also drive!
Not to mention the "Order Of The Arrow".
For those that do manage to make Eagle between 14 and 15 challenge them with the Hornaday Conservation Award. That's if the Fumes don't get 'em; Gas-Fumes and Per-Fumes.
I've only had a few Eagles in my Troop since it was re-chartered 8 years ago (after about a 25-year hiatus). They've all be 16 or older. If you ask me why the number of Eagles has gone up, I'll say that it's due to parental pressure. The question then becomes, why are more parents applying such pressure? College. Eagle has become a credential, especially for college applications. With the greatly increased competition for spots at top colleges, parents have latched onto the Eagle rank as a way for their kids to distinguish themselves.
LOL 8^) LOL
As far as I know, the only good thing to come out of Sierra Vista is me.
I'll disagree with you on that point; My Son now in the Vally of the Sun! Hands Down! But then he is my son.
We have a 14 yo Eagle Scout in our troop and he is every bit worthy of what he has done. I look for our son to make it at about 16....