Peyton Franco and Jake Anderson (l-r) completed an impressive area for the Catholic Church on Refuge Road as their Eagle Scout projects.
From Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a major accomplishment that requires the candidate to “plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or their community.”
For their Eagle Scout project, local Scouts Peyton Franco, son of Jose and Alana Franco, and Jake Anderson, son of Marc and Dana Anderson, chose to build a beautiful stone firepit with amphitheater
seating that will serve as a gathering space for youth ministry activities at Our Lady of the Mountains (OLM) Catholic Church in Jasper.
Both Jake and Peyton are parishioners at the church and members of Boy Scout Troop 125 in Canton.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, and it is attained by less than 10 percent of all Scouts. Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout validates that the Scout has demonstrated the core values and traits necessary to become leaders who “make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes.”
The rank is so highly regarded that Eagle Scouts are sought after by colleges, employers and the U.S. Armed Forces
When asked why they chose this project, Jake responded by saying, “Because of what it can provide for the church, especially for our youth. “
Jake added that the project also taught the Scouts about setting goals and seeing a project to completion. “Achieving goals will always be hard but my Scouting experiences have always prepared me to be better,” he said. “Being better mentally and being more mature than others helps people achieve the goals they strive for. Scouting has taught me to never give up and to always finish what you started. To always be the bigger and better person than what others are.”
The project required substantial design, planning, and fundraising efforts before construction could begin. Altogether, the project took one year to complete and required the Scouts to coordinate and supervise a team of 30 volunteers.
Peyton and Jake each invested over 240 hours of their own time in the project and were required to painstakingly document each phase for a Board of Review which determines whether projects meet the stringent requirements of the Boy Scouts of America.
The construction phase of the project presented grueling challenges, including adverse weather, coronavirus, and funding. Before construction could begin, Jake and Peyton had to devise a plan to raise a substantial amount of money to acquire materials and had to solicit volunteer labor from the church community.
Despite the significant hurdles, Peyton and Jake persevered. When asked what they learned from this experience, they said they would tell others to not give up.
Peyton said, “Eagle Scouts know there is no easy path to attaining the rank. You have a long journey ahead of you, with its ups and downs. But if you do keep going and persevere, you will not regret it.”
Scott Curran, director of religious education, commended the Scouts, saying “Our parish family is extremely grateful for this beautiful space to hold youth ministry activities. Peyton and Jake took a complicated design that was estimated by contractors to cost over $8,000 to complete, and brought it to life through leadership, fortitude, and physical endurance. These young men, alongside their volunteer team, persevered through many long, wet days of hard labor to deliver a treasure the youth and community of Our Lady of the Mountains will enjoy for years to come.”