Living through coronavirus: Becoming an Eagle Scout during the shutdown

After dedicating numerous years to their Eagle Scout projects, two members of Troop 974, Dan Beard Council, weren’t about to let the coronavirus restrictions delay their achievements.

So last week, instead of attending a six-person Board of Review in person, Ethan Goudy and Nathan Green held virtual meetings with Scouting representatives.

The meetings lasted about an hour, and Goudy and Green, wearing their dress uniforms, were asked detailed questions about their Eagle projects. The Scout representatives then discussed the Eagle Scout candidates in a private online meeting.

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Then Goudy and Green were notified they had earned their Eagle Scout status, a rare accomplishment. Since the inception of the Eagle Scout award in 1912, 2.01 percent of eligible Scouts have earned Scouting’s highest rank, according to Boy Scouts of America.

Scoutmaster Eric Saddler said Troop 974, established in 2000 at West Chester Nazarene Church, has produced 70 Eagle Scouts. The ranking is difficult because of the years of dedication it requires, Saddler said. Eagle Scouts, he said, typically juggle academics and extra-curricular activities at the same time.

“This takes discipline,” he said. “It’s like running a marathon.”

Both of their Eagle projects benefited elementary schools the boys attended.

Goudy, a home-schooled 17-year-old and a high functioning autistic, built three projects for the special education department at Van Gorden Elementary School, which is part of the Lakota School District. The projects included a sensory cart, a manipulatives cart, and a sensory path outside the school.

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He picked the elementary school because of the “great experience” he had there as a student, he said. His father, Eric Goudy, said the Eagle project required “a ton of work.”

The most ambitious part of the project was a large outdoor path built just outside the special education department. The path has 12 textured surfaces to allow kids with sensory issues to get used to walking on soft, hard, bumpy, spongy, and smooth surfaces. The path required excavating all the sod from the area and laying down a thick base of paver sand and getting everything leveled.

The project took over nine months of planning and execution and received financial support from the Van Gorden PTA, and also from the Daniel Ferraro Memorial Fund, he said.

Green, a 16-year-old sophomore at Lakota West High School, built a greenhouse at Union Elementary School. He said the project required about 200 hours and was completed in August. He said because students haven’t attended school in about one month, the greenhouse hasn’t been used as often as he hoped.

Green called the virtual meeting with Scout leaders “very weird” and “not as cool as in person.”

Still, he’s proud of his accomplishment.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I almost don’t believe it.”

His father, Ken Green, said he now looks at his son in “a different light” because of the Eagle Scout award.

“He went from a kid to a young adult,” his father said. “I’m extremely proud.”


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