Jacob Townsend may only be in eighth grade at Lighthouse Christian School but he’s already hard at work trying to receive his Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America organization.
Last Saturday at 8:30 a.m. approximately thirty scouts in Millsboro Troop 89, along with 12 leaders, helped Townsend complete his Leadership Service Project, which is one of the many requirements to obtain the Eagle rank.
A scout is eligible for the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the program, once a scout has reached the rank of Life Scout. From there he has until he turns eighteen to complete the requirements and earn his Eagle.
Townsend’s project was to landscape around the Dining Hall at Camp Barnes.
“Some of the bushes were up into the windows,” explained Townsend’s father Al, who said that before Saturday’s planting a number of bushes were removed around the building.
Townsend designed all of the landscaping and chose what plants to plant, with the help of Roots Landscaping, which also donated to his project.
“I picked out most of the plants but some of them we didn’t get so we had to go with different ones,” he said. “I went to Roots and they helped me design it and they said most of these plants would be hearty enough to survive down here.”
The project also entailed constructing and installing handicap railings for two of the building’s entrances.
He raised over $2,000 in donations, monetary and otherwise. Bunting and Murray donated and delivered mulch for the project and the boys were provided with lunch courtesy of Grotto Pizza.
“He went out and sent letters and talked to people,” said Townsend’s mother Tammy. “He was very blessed with a lot of donations for the community.”
In fact, the donations were so great that Townsend said they had enough extra donations to also do some landscaping at the Recreation Center, which was not originally part of his project.
Townsend has no intention of landscaping the area and walking away. He plans to return throughout the summer to water the plants
Although he has completed the physical project he still has a lot more work to do before he will be an Eagle Scout. He must create a report on the project.
“I have to write about what I did, how the project went. If there were any injuries,” explained Townsend.
Another requirement is to earn 21 merit badges, Townsend, who already has around 45 badges, only has one more badge to earn — Personal Management, which he said would take 14 to 16 weeks to complete.
Besides scouting, Townsend actively volunteers in the community at Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Company, at food pantries, soup kitchens and at the Senior League Softball World Series. He has clocked over 100 hours of community service in the past four years.
“We try to give back to the community because the community gives to us. Now we require kids to do 75 hours of community service before they get their Eagle packet,” explained Al.
Townsend plans to return to Camp Barnes and present a sign stating it was his project with a list of donors.
“It feels good, all that work,” said Townsend of seeing the project come to fruition.
Sussex Technical High School senior Joshua Mueller of Ocean View Troop 281 will be holding his Eagle Court of Honor on April 30.
The Court of Honor is held to honor the scout for their hard work and dedication to the program.
“I’m just really proud of him.” said Linda, Mueller’s mother. “He had decided in the beginning when he first joined Boy Scouts that he wanted to go all the way and he stayed with the program and he continued even when he got into high school, which is usually when the children drop out.”
Mueller came up with his service project after speaking with people in his troop.
“I constructed a bridge over the Phillip C. Showell Elementary School’s wetland,” said Mueller. “It’s about 30 feet long, five feet wide and it just went right over the center of the wetland and that way the kids can walk over and can get kind of close to the center of the wetland area.”
Mueller completed the bridge in about a week in July of 2010 but said that it took him about a year, from start to finish to earn his Eagle rank.
Like Townsend, he went into the community to ask for donations to help fund his project.
“He’s done a very good job. He worked very diligently going around to different businesses to get them to donate money or materials he needed to build the bridge,” said Linda.
He was quick to note that many people helped him along the way and gave a special thanks to Scout Master Tom Roth, Wayne Stacey, Dave Clark and Cody Lockwood for their help throughout the process.
Mueller, who plans on attending Louisiana State University in the fall is also active in Odyssey of the Mind and plays tuba in Tech’s marching band. However, he continues to take an active role in his troop and scouting, serving as an Assistant Troop Leader.
“I think it’s probably one of the best programs ever created,” he said. “I’ve had the best time of my life. Especially for people, if you don’t grow up with a strong father figure you grow up then with a lot of fathers because all of the leaders really help you a lot. I love camping and outdoors. It’s just a great experience and you get a lot of good skills… I’d recommend it to anyone.”