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Scouts soar through projects

Math and Science Academy sophomore Robert Nelson recently completed his Eagle Scout project, the removal of a mini golf course behind the school and landscaping of the area.1 / 2
Staff photo by Amber Kispert-Smith New Life Academy junior Brannon Goodbar recently completed his Eagle Scout project -- the installation of new playground equipment and painting lines for games at the school.2 / 2

This year marks the 100th year of the Eagle Scout program, the highest rank in Boy Scouts, and two Woodbury high school students are celebrating it appropriately - by earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

New Life Academy junior Brannon Goodbar and Math and Science Academy sophomore Robert Nelson both recently completed their Eagle Scout projects. Goodbar installed playground and painted blacktop lines at NLA and Nelson did landscaping at MSA.

Both Goodbar and Nelson will participate in a ceremony once their projects receive final approval.

The Eagle Scout program

In order to earn the rank of Eagle Scout a Boy Scout must: be active in their troop, team, crew, or ship for a period of at least six months after they have achieved the rank of Life Scout; demonstrate that they live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in daily life; list the names of individuals who know them personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on their behalf; earn a total of 21 merit badges; serve for a period of six months in a leader position; and take part in a Scoutmaster conference.

The final requirement to earn the rank of Eagle Scout is to plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school or the community.

The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.

Once the project is complete, the Eagle Scout candidate must successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.

Making the golf green greener

Nelson first joined Boy Scouts in 2004 at the urging of his parents.

"It's a prestigious opportunity that my family wanted me to achieve," he said. "Since then I've been working through my ranks."

Nelson said he has greatly enjoyed his time in Boy Scouts, especially the hiking and camping trips.

"I've appreciated the opportunities it has given me," he said.

When it came time to decide on an Eagle Scout project, Nelson said he had initially planned on repairing the shed located behind MSA.

"But all it needed was a new door and some organization," he said.

Nelson then stumbled upon another project - landscaping the area behind the school.

Located behind the school was a rundown mini-golf course, which was originally installed to teach students about cells.

The parcel measures about 3,500 square feet.

"It wasn't really serving any purpose so I really wanted to make it nice again and have it actually be useful to the school," he said. "I wanted to make it look nice and green again because it was just horrid."

In July Nelson received project approval and then he went to work making plans for new sod, plants and landscaping features.

After 300 hours of work and the help of friends and family, the former mini golf course now has lush sod, recycled landscaping rocks and bricks, a few dozen plants and a sprinkler system that's up and running again.

However, the area will remain closed until the spring in order to give the sod time to grow.

Nelson said he hopes the area will be used by MSA students during lunches and after school for such activities as Frisbee and football.

"I'm glad to see it done," he said. "I'll be happy to see it next spring when kids can actually play on it.

"But I'm not finished until the paperwork is finished."

A new place to play at MSA

Goodbar first joined Boy Scouts the summer after he finished fifth grade.

He said he has enjoyed the camping and hiking trips.

"I learned a lot of survival skills," he said. "It's just fun."

Earning the rank of Eagle Scout was always something Goodbar wanted to accomplish.

"My dad's an Eagle Scout, my uncle's an Eagle Scout, so I wanted to be an Eagle Scout," he said.

Goodbar decided on his project during the summer while he was working at NLA's summer program.

"I noticed that when the kids were playing, there was very little for them to play with," he said.

So Goodbar decided to add some new features to the playground.

The first phase of Goodbar's project was to paint lines on the blacktop for hopscotch, four-square and basketball.

Goodbar also painted lines and made a pitcher's mound for a kickball field.

With the help of friends and family, Goodbar was able to complete the painting project within four hours, but the day wasn't without its challenges.

"We almost ran out of paint," he said.

The next phase of Goodbar's Eagle Scout project was to install a balance beam and pull-up bars.

"I thought they just needed more equipment to play on because there were always lines for swings," he said, "and they didn't have this equipment."

Goodbar said the installation process was challenging since it essentially took the entire day to complete.

He completed his project in late July.

Goodbar said he is pleased with how his project turned out.

"They finally have something to play with," he said.

Goodbar shares this advice with future Eagle Scouts: "Especially when you're doing the project, it gets really hard, but don't give up," he said.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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