Eagle Scout service projects bring benefit to Apex Park and Recreation District, community
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a big job…and only about 5% of all Boy Scouts achieve this honor. Eagles must navigate through a long and diverse list of components, using motivation, skill and leadership throughout the process. Although they “own” every step of the journey, adults and community members are part of their team.
For more than a decade, Apex Park and Recreation District has served as a valuable resource for Eagle Scouts by connecting them with potential service projects around the district. This helps fulfill the program requirement to plan and complete a project benefitting the community – and of course, it makes our community a better place.
Nathan Eaton, Apex District Services Manager, heads up this unique and rewarding program, initiated by former Apex PRD employee Marshall Masek. Its continuing success are due in large part to Nate’s years of diverse on-the-job experience managing a wide array of projects for the district, and his own experience as an Eagle Scout.
Most important for Nate is to keep each Scout on task with managing and leading throughout the process. That involves knowledge, expertise, careful planning and attention to both the big picture and the details.
Nate works with scout troops in the Arvada area and keeps a list of current district projects that might have Eagle Scout potential. Once a Scout makes contact with the district, Nate’s first step is to meet with him and his parents. “I talk to them about any special interests they may have, then go over the ground rules and expectations. The emphasis is that the Scout runs the project and demonstrates leadership skills.”
A good outcome depends on good planning and organization. “Once we identify the project, we visit the site and do a walk through. At this point I bring up all the what-ifs” to help lay out a plan and decide who does what.”
After the Scout comes up with the plan it is reviewed by Nate, who then helps fine-tune it. On project day, Nate comes out to visit. That’s the time when all the planning and organization pays off. As Nate puts it, “One of the important things Eagle Scout projects teach is how you deal with problems as they arise – and they will!”
Good leadership also means keeping the momentum going at the follow-up stage. Nate meets with the scout at the site after the project is completed. The scout fixes anything unsatisfactory, and when all is completed, Nate signs off on the project. Finally, the Scout has the chance to hone his public-speaking skills by presenting a summary of the project to the board of directors at their regular public meeting.
Nate also contributes to the Scout’s network of support by attending his Eagle Scout Court of Honor, when the actual award is presented. “So much work goes into this process – it helps develop leadership skills, forms relationships with community, benefits citizens, teaches good citizenship and helps the district.” That’s a great opportunity for 13 to 14-year-olds, the typical age when they embark on this project. Not that there aren’t a few procrastinating and late-blooming Eagles. “They must complete the project before they turn 18, though, and sometimes they’re right under the wire!” Nate says.
Completed projects abound throughout the district; here are a few recent ones:
- Landscaping front of Racquetball and Fitness Center including retaining wall
- Picnic table and concrete pads at the Apex Field House
- Two picnic tables and path at Dog Park
- Pergola on the back patio of the Apex Simms Street Center
- Kiosks at Long Lake Soccer Complex
Many thanks to all the members of the Boy Scout community who have made our community a better place. For more information about this program, email Nathan Eaton, firstname.lastname@example.org.