Local Boy Scout spearheads area beautification project

For nearly three years, residents of the Kelley Barracks Housing Area on Ash Street came and went with no particular reason to stop and literally “smell the roses.”

For that reason, R.J. Weaver, 15, decided to leave his mark on his community, not only for his present neighbors, but for those in years to come, by installing a garden on Sept. 5, as part of an Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project. The garden, which includes a sign and bench, was placed at the entrance of Weaver’s housing area.

In order to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program, Scouts are required to complete a leadership service project that benefits an organization other than Scouting.

After brainstorming ideas with his father, Weaver developed the plan of creating a beautification project for his neighborhood. “We’ve lived here for almost three years now, and there’s nothing here that says ‘Wow, this is my house,’” Weaver said. “My plan was to welcome everyone back home after work and inspire them to be proud of where we live.”

Weaver began the planning process in July, which he said was the most difficult aspect of the project. The Boy Scouts of America’s official site lists this step as most important and it must be carried out before the project begins.

“Planning time has probably been the hardest part of the project because I have to create the project, write it all down, create the details, and get approvals from DPW (Department of Public Works), the installation coordinator, my scoutmaster, troop committee and district person,” he said.

After he finalized his plan, Weaver earned money to purchase materials for the garden through fundraising. The installation took around three weeks to complete and included help from Boy Scouts in Troops 154 and 44, as well as Webelos from Pack 324.

The garden is now a wonderful addition to the community, his mother, Amy Weaver said. “I’m excited about the fact that when we drive home or look out of the window, we can see the difference he can make in a community. Frankly, it brought tears to my eyes because I was so proud of what he can do for the community through Scouting,” she said.

Resident Tricia Huibschman was equally impressed with his efforts. “We just moved in this summer, and as a newcomer, it makes a huge difference to our neighborhood,” she said. “His initiative is quite impressive for a 15-year old. When I saw the Boy Scouts out here working, I was like, ‘Good for them.’”

Although the project is up for review before he can earn his Eagle Scout wings, Weaver is proud of his accomplishments. “Scouts has prepared me to do stuff on my own and be prepared for anything,” he said. “It’s helped with school work, working hard and doing my best, which I do most of the time.”

The Stuttgart area has a very active Boy Scouts program, said Duke Whitten, Troop 154 scoutmaster.

“I invite anybody who’s new to the area, or if you have a Scout-age son, to visit any of the troops here,” he said. “We have great programs, we meet monthly and we support the community … .”

For more information on the Boy Scout program in Stuttgart, visit http://boyscouttroop154.googlepages.com.