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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Caleb’s Eagle Project

The requirements for eagle scout have always undergone change since the beginning of the Boy Scout movement. It evolved from a Merit Badge into a full-fledged rank in 1927. Life and Star ranks were also merit badges at the same time. This was about to change. The order of award was also changed at the same time. As merit badges it went Life, Star, and then Eagle. When they became ranks in 1927 the order of rank went to Star, then Life, and finally Eagle. A service requirement was also added to the life rank. It required a Life Scout to maintain a “record of satisfactory service” with the troop. That was not too bad as it was a vague statement that didn’t seem to require any extra work on the scout’s part. That requirement remained the same for the next 25 years.

In 1952, “record of satisfactory service” was changed to another vague statement to “do your best to help in your home, school, church or synagogue, and community.” This statement still didn’t seem to require any extra work on the scout’s part, but that all changed in 1965 when the wording was changed to “plan, develop, and carry out a service project.” An additional stipulation was added to “give leadership to others.”

From that point on, the service project requirement would become the bane of many a Life Scout. It has also undoubtedly been an important factor in raising the public’s perception of not only an individual Scout who is showing leadership in community service but of the Scouting movement as a whole. The “Eagle Project” became an opportunity for a scout to demonstrate his leadership to others, potentially outside of his normal scout buddies, while working on a project that would benefit any religious institution, any school, or their community. A few stipulations on the project are that it is not allowed to benefit the Boy Scouts of America or its councils, districts, units, camps and so forth. It also cannot be of a commercial nature or be solely a fund-raising project. The new requirement is not without merit, however, as now the scout is expected to brainstorm what to do and then plan and develop that idea into a project all by himself.

This past weekend, on the 2nd of March, Caleb undertook his Eagle Project on Ft. Huachuca, by leading the installation of a wildlife animal watering system near Garden Canyon. The system consists of a large cylindrical storage tank that runs to a watering system that allows the local wildlife to have water, similar to the type of systems used on large ranches to ensure the cattle get to drink while roaming the range.

The turnout of volunteers was fantastic. We all met at 8:00 AM at the Shoppette gas station close to the Van Deman gate of Fi. Huachuca, just outside of Sierra Vista, AZ. As the crow gathered, Caleb passed out volunteer forms and gathered any last-minute snacks for the project. Once all the pee-deployment orientation was completed, we loaded up and convoyed to the base of the hill, in the Garden Canyon area where the “Wildlife Water Guzzler” was to be setup. The “Guzzler” is a large rain-collecting storage tank with a drinking station that is placed down-slope a little in a gravity fed manner, to allow any local wildlife a place to drink when the dry season empties any local ponds.

Caleb’s job was to prepare the site to house the tank, piping, and the drinking station. He directed the volunteers in separate groups to work on the three portions of the project; the tank, the trench for the piping, and the location of the d5rinking station.

After our guide from the Ft. Huachuca wildlife team selected the spot, one crew began clearing out and leveling the ground for the tank, a second crew started digging the trench for the plumbing, and the third crew started digging out the location for the drinking station.

After the areas were dug out, the tank was moved into place. The rain collector tank lid was assembled and then man-handled into place on top of the tank. It was secured in place using bolts. Like most digging projects in the desert, tree roots, hard ground, and large underground rocks played their part in making it a project for sure. After overcoming all that, the project proceeded along without any major problems.

The Ft. Huachuca team did most of the assembly required to hook up the tank to the drinking station. A couple of the adults chipped in to finish hooking the drinking station to the plumbing.

After a couple of hours of digging everything out, the filling it in again didn’t take very long at all. It even reminded me of my youth when I worked with my friend installing sprinkler systems in Florida. I would spend all day digging pipe trenches and then he would come back later in the day and put the system in the trenches in only a few minutes. Of course, I would have to fill in the trenches again after that. It seemed so unfair, my hours of work just to watch him do minutes of work.

As the project was nearing the end, Caleb’s parents provided sandwiches and drinks to all.

As Always, Be Prepared.

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