Tucked away in a corner of Eggleston Park on McCormick Boulevard at Bridge Street, just beyond the Anniversary Orchard, is Greg Wooten’s completed Eagle Scout project: a tool shed, a harvest table and a three-stage compost bin. They can be found in the Ecology Center Farmette, a section of Eggleston Park that will be used for classes and programs and as an urban farming demonstration site.
The Eagle Scout Service Project is meant to demonstrate a scout’s leadership while performing a project that would benefit the community.
Greg is a rising sophomore at Beacon Academy and a member of Boy Scout Troop 3, Evanston’s oldest Boy Scout troop. Troop 3, founded in 1915, has a long history of Eagle Scouts, and the members are very supportive in volunteering for each other’s Eagle Scout projects, Greg said.
Greg began working on the project last year. He first achieved the Life Scout rank before beginning work on the 21 merit badges required to become an Eagle Scout. As a Life Scout, he planned and developed a project that had to be approved by the Boy Scout organization, Greg’s Scoutmaster, and the committee at the council level of the district before the project could even begin.
The leadership model of Eagle Scout Service is the EDGE method used by the BSA: Explain, Demonstrate, Guide learners and Enable.
Greg met and worked with his scoutmaster, Peter Mueller, and Eagle Scout advisor Brian Lamberg, who suggested that Greg meet and talk with Matt Poole, Program Coordinator at the Evanston Ecology Center. Mr. Poole served as Greg’s liaison at the Evanston Ecology Center and the City of Evanston.
The two met every other week for a while to discuss what Greg’s project might be.
Mr. Poole had suggested several different ideas for things to build for the Ecology Center. Greg said the first time the two met, they discussed options; the second time he presented his plans and received feedback; the third time involved another review; the fourth time they talked about logistics; and at the final meeting they discussd the location. Greg said, “I chose the ones I felt would represent a good work project for the members of my troop.”
The Scout must also submit a written project proposal to a Boy Scouts of America District representative, who asks questions and offers feedback. Once Greg completed all the Eagle Scout requirements, he met with a Board of Review.
To create a budget for his project, Greg met with Richard Gilbert of Evanston Lumber Company to talk about an estimate for the lumber and worked with his project advisor
to create a list of additional expenses, such as the rental of a truck to get the equipment to the location, nails and screws, etc., and food for the volunteers.
Greg created a list of friends and family from Evanston and beyond who had supported his Boy Scout activities in the past and wrote each of them a letter asking for support of the project. “Through the generosity of friends and family, I was able to raise almost $1,500,” he said.
Greg organized and led others, many of them members of Troop 3, in completing the project. About 30 volunteers participated in the initial Building Day, May 7.
The majority of the work was completed on that day, but a few volunteers returned on May 8 and 9 to complete the project.
When asked what this experience taught him, Greg said it taught him how to meet with adults in a professional setting and made him get out of his comfort zone. He said he felt that his perseverance and leadership skills improved considerably and that it was important for him to give back to the community of Evanston.
Scouting has many values, he said, such as leadership, service, lifelong friendships, obtaining knowledge in many subjects as well as skills in many fields, and preparing young men for life. He said he joined Troop 3 because he wanted to seek these values and to have fun.