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By Jarad Johnson, Boy Scout
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is a difficult task. A Boy Scout must earn at least 21 merit badges, serve at least six months in a troop leadership position and manage a community service project, the Eagle Scout Project, all before age 18.
About five percent of Scouts achieve the rank, according to the National Eagle Scout Association.
The Eagle Scout Project is the opportunity for a Boy Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community. The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), but cannot be performed for an individual or a business, be solely a fundraising project or be commercial in nature. The rigorous nature of the required service project is a major step in the completion of the Eagle rank.
My name is Jarad Johnson, a 13-year-old who is an eighth grader at Fayetteville High School. I am a Life Scout with Troop 461 located in Park City. After speaking to several individuals regarding a potential Eagle project, I chose a project at the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Arts Center. The project consisted of building a room at the Arts Center to house computers to benefit individuals in the community to have access to these computers and individual internet training classes. The room is approximately 8×10 in size. This project was a bit larger than required to attain Eagle; however, I was convinced that it could be accomplished.
Mr. Dave Owens, a church friend, assisted me by being with me at the initial meetings with Mr. Mark Kelso, Arts Center president. Mr. Owens became my mentor. He helped me figure out the dimensions of each wall, how to draw up the plans for the project and to list the materials and supplies that would be needed.
Dressed in my “Class A” Boy Scout shirt and with my Eagle Scout Notebook, which included drawings and a long list of materials and supplied, tucked under my arm and a smile on my face, I visited the lumber companies asking for donations. I demonstrated leadership skills by gathering donations from the Disaster Relief coordinator, Mr. James Baird; Fayetteville Lumber and Supply, Mr. Roy Jones; and Pendergrass Supply and Rental, Justin Pendergrass. My project would not have been a reality without your generous donations. I cannot thank you enough!
To accomplish the project, I needed volunteers. I organized volunteers from my own Troop 461, as well as Boy Scout Troops 489 and 357. I also recruited friends and family. On March 30 and March 31, 25 people came together, and after a combined 128 hours and over $450 in supplies and materials, the room was completed.
It was a lot harder than I expected, and I was totally exhausted afterwards, but I am proud of my efforts, pleased with what was accomplished, and I feel it was all worth it. The project was filled with all sorts of skills and experiences that the Scouts and I will remember – learning how to hold screws while using power drills and screw drivers; not being apprehensive to use a jig saw; holding the wood as it was being cut by a power saw; laying insulation; using your head to hold up the ceiling as it was being screwed in place; crawling on the roof and balancing yourself in order not to fall through the very ceiling that was just installed; hanging peg board; wiring for electricity; hanging 2×6 rafter hangers and rafters; climbing ladders; painting; cleaning up; and, of course, eating pizza.
I want to thank the following adult leaders because the project would not have been accomplished if it weren’t for them – Mr. Dave Owen for being there with me and for me from the very beginning and getting me started and answering thousands of questions, for building my confidence, for being patient and calm and always telling me not to worry and that I could do it; Mr. Fred Alcorn, Troop 461 Scoutmaster; Mr. Eddie Smith and Mr. Darrell Gray, also from Troop 461; Mr. J.B. Cox, Troop 357 Scout master; Mr. Randy Anderson; and Mr. Richard Smith.
I would also like to thank Mr. Mark Rascoe for putting in long hours, being extremely patient while teaching me all sorts of new skills, always keeping a positive approach, never giving up on me and also answering numerous questions and reminding me to measure twice and cut once and sometimes to measure more than twice.
I can’t leave out Mr. Mark Kelso; he always answered my phone calls, met with myself and several adult leaders, was patient, kind and worked some long hours as well. Thank you all!
I also want to thank the following friends, Scouts and family: Sean, Sabrina and Denise Rascoe, Lane Brown from Troop 489, Will Anderson, Justin and Nick Sisk and Ben Cox from Troop 357 and Colton Gray, Ethan and Calvin Alcorn from Troop 461. My mom, Leslie Johnson, was there for me from the beginning to the end. She, too, put in some very long, exhausting hours. And, I can’t forget to thank my Gran, Willa Jo Dye. She proved that you’re never too old to get the job done! Thank you, thank you.