Archive for Thursday, September 7, 2006

Earning their wings

Two Scouts create signs to help distinguish Eudora parks

September 7, 2006

When it comes to scouting, Michael Whitten and Todd Roberts had more in common than they knew.

They were both close friends chasing a dream of becoming Eagle Scouts.

They're both on the Eudora High School football team and working on their senior year in school.

But during the early stages of their Eagle Scout project, one thing became clear ---- they were doing pretty much the same thing.

"We didn't even know that we were doing very similar projects until we had already planned them," Roberts said.

With the help of Eudora city workers, the Scouts created signs proclaiming the names of two local parks.

Roberts created a plaque that informs citizens about Bluejacket Park.

Whitten made a wood sign at the corner of Paschal Fish Park.

"I drew up the plans about five million times," Whitten said.

Now the fruits of the two teen's work have improved both the parks and brought each closer to achieving Boy Scouts of America's highest rank.

With the completion of their projects, the two boys must wait several more months before officially earning the title of Eagle Scout.

Roberts decided on the project at Bluejacket Park because his father, Rob Roberts, did a similar project for a park in Shawnee.

"I just thought since there wasn't anything at the park, I thought a plaque would be a good idea, kind of informing the people on the history of the area," Roberts said.

Although materials for the plaque cost $2,400, Roberts was able to collect $2,000 from donors to help pay for the project. The city provided labor, and a Lawrence nursery provided plants, Roberts said.

Whitten created a wooden sign with blue letters to help beautify the park named after the town's founder Chief Paschal Fish. Paschal is also the father of Eudora Fish, the town's namesake.

Finishing the projects marked a renewed fervor for scouting for Whitten.

He spent the majority of his time in the Scouts for the first three to four years, he said.

Eventually, until stepping up work on his Eagle Project, Whitten spent time elsewhere.

"I just kind of tapered off," Whitten said.

Because Whitten belongs to Eudora Scout Troop No. 64 in Eudora and Roberts to Troop No. 52 in Lawrence, they didn't immediately realize they were doing similar projects.

Once the duo found out how similar their work was, they pooled their resources, Roberts said.

"When I was working, he helped on mine, and, of course, when he was working I helped on his," Roberts said.

Whitten's father, Tom Whitten, also helped the boys finish the project.

While still in the planning stages, Roberts and Whitten linked the construction of their projects to Eudora's sesquicentennial celebration and the Lions Club project to create a statue of Eudora Fish.

Robert's mother, Rachel Kaslaitis, saw the benefit in her son's work.

"Scouting builds character and I think it will help him in many ways," Kaslaitis said.

In the end, Roberts seemed more concerned about how the project will help the community, he said.

?I was just happy I got my project done and proud that I did something for the community that will always be remembered," he said.

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