Forging his own trail in scouting
Perseverance. Determination. Dedication.
That's what Alex Coad said it takes to make it as an Eagle Scout. The Woodbury teen received the distinction - the highest the Boy Scouts bestows - earlier this year.
"It was like all of the hard work I had put in up until that point had paid off," Coad, 16, said.
The home-schooled student received the Eagle Scout honor after completing his service project - a trail restoration at Afton State Park - which fulfilled a critical requirement toward earning the rank.
After beginning as a Tiger Cub through the Cub Scouts, and working his way through the various badges in Boy Scouts, Coad began amassing scores of meaningful experiences.
"I have stuck with scouting because it means so much to me," said Coad, who also attends post-secondary education at Century College. "If I wasn't in Boy Scouts, I would not do a lot of things I get to do."
That includes a trip last summer to a high-adventure camp in the Florida Keys, where he went snorkeling, kayaking and canoeing.
A member of scouting's national honor society, the Order of the Arrow, Coad said scouting has had a profound effect on his life. In addition to helping people in need through service projects, he said he has also gained skills he expects to help him later in the business world and beyond - "with everything from time and money management skills, to my certification in first aid and CPR."
For his project, Coad, a high school junior, targeted Afton State Park and contacted officials there. He learned that a trail needed to be closed off, so he sprung into action.
He worked to block off and restore a trail there that was eroding away. That meant transplanting trees from one area of the park and planting them on the battered trail. To keep the new soil from being washed away, he placed logs across the path.
"The project was special to me because it helped to prevent the hill the trail was on from eroding away," Coad said. "It also helped preserve wildlife native to that area."