Becoming an Eagle Scout requires demonstrating leadership while spearheading a project to benefit the community, and four such efforts by local youths have made a big impact on Mount Airy’s public recreation facilities.
They tackled tasks benefiting Westwood Park, Riverside Park and the Emily B. Taylor Greenway in order to achieve the Eagle status, the highest rank attainable through the Boy Scouts of America organization.
The four projects by Connor Cooke, Christopher Butera, Nicholas Conzone and Caleb Isaacs required a total of 314 man-hours to complete, work that drew official recognition during a meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners earlier this week.
“I really appreciate the Eagle Scout projects,” Commissioner Jim Armbrister said of the efforts by the four youths, who were issued special certificates by city government recognizing their contributions and presence as “wonderful role models” for the community:
• Christopher Butera’s project involved removing 32 old, rotting crossties along the walking trail that runs through Westwood Park. After the crosstie and rebar (reinforcement) removal, those fixtures were replaced with new ones, with the entire effort taking 128 man-hours to complete.
It was mentioned at the meeting that the deteriorating crossties needed to be replaced about four years ago. The job was undertaken using no power equipment, only hand tools.
• Caleb Isaacs’ project also involved Westwood Park, where he mapped the mountain bike trails and added 300 wooden signs with markings to coordinate with the map. The scout erected the signs on trees at intervals along the trails, which are color-coded and labeled A-G, in an effort that required 116 man-hours.
“This is not only good for mountain bikers at Westwood Park, but hikers,” said Michella Huff, the city’s grounds and maintenance supervisor, who coordinated the scouts’ work along with Parks and Recreation Director Catrina Alexander.
Huff explained that is easy to lose one’s way along the intricate trail system, which the new mapping component is remedying.
• Connor Cooke’s project was both functional and sentimental in nature. It involved breathing new life into a stick-built replica of a tower at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History which was part of a “Build-A-Dream” playground developed around 2004 at Riverside Park.
The tower replica and other original playground components were replaced with new equipment in 2016. The scout worked to incorporate the original tower structure into the present landscape at the park, which included repairs and replacing pieces in addition to painting and placing 5-foot poles into the ground. The tower is now a play feature on the perimeter of the new playground.
This project took 45 man-hours to complete.
• Nicholas Conzone designed and built a new hammock hang facility along the Emily B. Taylor Greenway behind the Roses shopping center. The hammock hang is located in an open area where new restrooms for trail users are being constructed.
The scout placed posts in the ground and painted them, then made and attached red hammocks that are available for public use. He devoted 25 man-hours to the project.
Huff said that along with improvements made to the various areas, the four young men were always punctual for meetings that were held to discuss the projects.
“And these kids were so good to work with,” Huff added.
“These guys really went above and beyond.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.