Local Boy Scouts at the 2013 National Jamboree complete their day of service in Beckley, W. Va. Photo from Boy Scouts of America

A patchy, gray lot on busy Holliday Drive in Beckley, W.Va., this summer was the site for young workers in orange vests to construct a path and rain garden. They were the 36 members of Boy Scout Jamboree Troop C412 and their leaders taking a day away from the 2013 Jamboree at nearby Scott Summit Bechtel Reserve to perform a “day of service.” 

Four of the kids and two adults were from Evanston: 13-to-15-year-olds Christopher (Topher) Andersen, Jasper Davidoff, Conner Speidel and Simon Uhm, with leaders Chuck Pint and his son, Paul. Other scouts were from other North Shore communities such as Wilmette.

The rain garden was designed to prevent nearby houses and Little White Stick Creek from being flooded by frequent rains. The troop arrived at the site at 9:30 a.m. and divided into four work teams, each with a specific task: One was to make a decorative stone walking path, one to plant shrubbery and cover the garden in mulch, one to set up a wooden fence, and the last to place sod grass.

Throughout the day, passing cars honked their horns in support. Several residents, some of whom had experienced the flooding the garden will address, came to the area to thank troop leaders. Jeremiah Johnson, project leader and member of the Beckley Sanitary Board, told the scouts later that “even the neighbors have come out. … [They’ve] been thrilled with how beautiful you’ve made this.”

The garden was also a memorial for late board member Tom Keyser, who contributed 31 years of service to their city. “We had a dedication for the rain garden,” Sanitary Board member John Peplowski said.

The 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree, July 15-24, was attended by 36,595 scouts from all over the nation. Each troop was composed of scouts from a number of local troops, and each completed a day of service in one of nine surrounding West Virginia counties.