Boy Scout earns highest honor

By Jason Harris - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Tue., Jan. 8, 2013
Colin Patchell has completed his Eagle Scout project. Photo by Jason Harris.
Colin Patchell has completed his Eagle Scout project. Photo by Jason Harris.

Colchester resident Colin Patchell has completed his community project for which he will receive an Eagle Scout merit badge, the highest attainable rank in Boy Scouts. Patchell said his initial project was to have built and placed benches along the Airline Trail, but the people he would have needed to communicate with on the project were in California fighting a forest fire, so he went to his Scoutmaster to come up with another idea.

The Scoutmaster suggested making improvements to Shuster Park, which the Scouts frequently rent out from the Colchester Hayward Fire Department for functions such as Court of Honor ceremonies and campouts. The fire department liked the idea and it was agreed that Patchell would improve the park by adding as many picnic tables to it as could be purchased by donations and built by Patchell and his team.

Through the fundraising part of the project, Patchell received enough money to build five picnic benches and also donate an additional $110 to the fire department, he said. He got the wood for the benches from Lowe's in Waterford, where he received 10 percent off the order. The carriage bolts were purchased with two $25 gift cards donated by the Waterford Home Depot, he said.

It took Patchell and his team about five hours to build the picnic tables in his garage and a couple more hours to drop them off at Shuster Park on Dec. 27. "I'm not supposed to be hands-on with the project because this project was more about leadership," Patchell said. "You're allowed to help, but you can't be building all the picnic tables by yourself." Patchell managed a crew of about 15 people, including Scout leaders and other Scouts who worked on the project.

The way the Eagle project works is that first a Boy Scout must submit a proposal to the Three Rivers Council. Patchell started writing the proposal for the project in August of last year, but he couldn’t begin to collect donations for it until his proposal was approved. Patchell said the project was approved by the troop committee in September, then in October it received final approval from the council, which is made up of all the committees from each Boy Scout troop in Connecticut.

One of the many things Patchell feels he has learned both from being a Boy Scout since 2002 and from doing the project is the ability to speak up. “I used to always be a quiet kid,” Patchell said. “It [the project] definitely showed me leadership.”

According to the Boy Scouts of America website, more than 2 million young men have earned the Eagle Scout Award since it was introduced in 1912. Along with the Eagle project, the requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating service and leadership.

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