Scout projects benefit BEMS

Two new Eagle Scouts were welcomed into the fold Oct. 11. Boy Scout Troop 44’s Diego Williams, 17, and Thomas Greene, 14, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout – the highest rank in Scouting – following a board of review held at the Panzer Family Housing Scout Hut. 

Williams and Greene take their places among an elite group that includes Steven Spielberg, Donald Rumsfeld and Neil Armstrong, and closer to home, Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command. To earn the rank, Williams and Greene had to progress through the Scouting ranks, earn at least 21 merit badges, serve in a leadership position and complete service projects, according to Lisa Minnich, the troop’s advancement chairwoman. The Scouting program encourages boys to learn and practice leadership skills, and the Eagle Scout service project puts those skills to the test. A Scout must plan, develop and document a project that benefits an organization outside of Scouting and lead others in doing the project, according to Greene, who has been a Scout for four years. “You have to be very organized,” he added. He and Williams both happened to complete their service projects for Böblingen Elementary/Middle School. “I’ve always wanted to help the school,” said Greene, a Patch High School freshman who attended middle school at BEMS on Panzer Kaserne. Working with the school, the BEMS Parent Teacher Association and U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Directorate of Public Works, Greene and several volunteers relocated a memorial that honors the short life of Brigitte Scheiderich, a BEMS seventh-grader who died in 1988 after a swimming accident. Greene moved the memorial from an unassuming location next to the playground, to in front of the school.

But that wasn’t all. Each spring, the school awards the Brigitte Scheiderich Award to a seventh-grader for demonstrated academic and athletic excellence. Dale Moore, the BEMS principal, enlisted Greene to develop a script for the award presentation. “Thomas researched her life by contacting he family. They were thrilled that he was moving the memorial. He also presented the award to this year’s winner, Hannah Seely,” Moore said. PHS senior Diego Williams choose a project designed to brighten up the playground and teach geography through play. He and 12 volunteers sketched out and painted a map of the United States on the asphalted play area.

With a little research, Williams found a stencil, which he said saved a lot of time, and the appropriate type of paint for the surface and local weather. “It should last for a long time – until the school closes,” he said. Teachers appreciate the addition. “I use the map with my kids all the time. We use it as a gathering place,” said kindergarten teacher Teresa Senna. Later in the year, Senna said she will use the map during a unit on the United States. “It’s been fun integrating it into my lesson plans,” she added. Williams’ map is also a resource for incidental learning. Moore said he watches students during recess have conversations about the states – where they have lived and where they were born. “Even without a formal lesson plan, it’s being used as a teaching tool, and that’s nice,” Moore added.