Scouts' projects help Kent schools

By Diane Smith Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Three Kent teens chose to do their Eagles projects for Kent schools, some of which will be easy to spot when students return to classes.

John Myers organized an effort to paint playground equipment at Longcoy School. Dan Crail mobilized a team to move kitchen equipment from Davey Middle School to the new Stanton Middle School. Will Harper, meanwhile, is working on a project that will place a sand pit volleyball court near Theodore Roosevelt High School.

Marc Crail, superintendent of Kent schools and Dan's proud father, said all the Eagle Scout projects have a value to the schools.

"A lot of them probably wouldn't have gotten done if not for these boys," he said. "It makes the schools a nicer environment, and the nicer it looks, the better they take care of it."

Brian Davis, scoutmaster for troop 253 at the United Church of Christ, where all three boys are scouts, said the project boys must complete is one of the final requirements for the honor. Boys must do a project to benefit either their school, church or community. Although they may require donations of labor or materials, they aren't designed to be fund-raisers.

"It needs to be a project that challenges the boy almost beyond what he can do," he said. "The best ones force you to stretch in order to do it the right way. The best projects go on year after year."

Davis said the three are among an estimated seven to eight scouts from the troop expected to win the Eagle Scout honor this year. Usually, the troop averages about two Eagle Scouts every year.

"I just can't tell you how happy it makes me," he said. "This is really what pays it off for an adult leader, to see them create something out of nothing that they can look back on."

Crail said his son enlisted the help of several other scouts, including a team of young boys, to pack up all the kitchen utensils at Davey, transport them to Stanton, and help set up the new kitchen.

"We would have had to pay someone to do it otherwise," he said. "There are things to be learned from completing a project from start to end."

Dan will be the third generation of Eagle Scout in his family, following the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

Myers focused on the playground area of Longcoy, where two maps of the United States painted on the playground surface were old and faded. Since one of the maps was so faded that the states weren't visible, he enlisted the help of artist Jan Hatch, a family friend, to help finish the map.

He and his team also scraped the rust off three large pieces of equipment and painted them bright colors.

Myers, a former student of Kent schools who now attends Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, said the work gave him a place to focus his energies and also gave him a chance to give back to the school system.

"The work was a real pain in the butt, but it was well worth it," he said. "The rank of Eagle Scout is so respected. Everyone up to the president of the United States to the lowliest person respects an Eagle Scout."

Harper, a member of Roosevelt's boys' volleyball team, is in the early stages of constructing the sand pit volleyball court. He is seeking donations of sand and gravel, plus a contractor to help excavate the area.

The court will be placed near the tennis courts and behind the swimming pool parking lot. He said his fellow students are looking forward to enjoying the area during their lunch breaks.

"I hope it will be like the tennis courts, that the community will feel free to use it too," he said.

Harper said he anticipates the construction will be the easiest part. The difficulty lies in organizing the project.

"It's definitely worth it," he said. "When I do get my Eagle, it will be

an honor."

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