Two Chatham Scouts Attain Eagle Rank

by Tim Wood

CHATHAM – Attaining Eagle Scout rank is the highest honor in Scouting. Two members of Chatham Troop 71 recently claimed that achievement.

Paul Carlson and Skyler Baker received their Eagle Scout badges at a Court of Honor May 11. The two scouts achieved the honor through community service projects which are key to scouting and “learning to be a good citizen,” according to Scoutmaster David Carlson.

The projects are “designed to create something new and useful for the community,” he wrote in an email. “The scout manages the whole process himself, including creating a plan, getting approvals, organizing supplies and working with other scouts on the project.”

Paul Carlson’s project involved placing three public benches in the Riverbay neighborhood. Working with the Riverbay Association’s Diane Anderson, he chose a design, raised about $1,300 and went to the select board for permission to place the benches on town property.

The biggest challenge was assembling the benches, he said.

“There weren’t really any instructions that came with the benches, so we had to figure it out,” said the Scout. With the help of Mike Berg, the benches were secured in place with the help of other members of the troop as well as volunteers.

“The best thing I’ve learned is leadership,” Carlson, a Chatham resident, said of his years in Scouting. He has since turned 18 and aged out of the organization, but continues to help out with recycling at the transfer station and other troop activities. “It’s been a lot of fun, for sure. I’m sure the skills I’ve learned will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Baker, a Brewster resident, built an outdoor cabinet for the food pantry at the First United Methodist Church of Chatham. The all-weather cabinet will allow people to access non-perishable items 24 hours a day.

Baker worked with Pastor Tom Gallen to come up with the project. He wanted to do something to benefit the church in recognition of its longstanding support as the troop’s charter organization, added David Carlson.

The church’s pantry is tucked away in the lower level and is open only when the thrift shop is open. The new white four-by-three-foot cabinet was designed to fit cereal boxes and other canned and boxed goods.

“It’s enough to make an impact for several families,” Baker said. Fellow troop members helped build the cabinet, and builder Bob Vath, a former Eagle Scout, provided assistance and donated plywood. Hinckley’s and Main Street Hardware donated other materials, Baker said.

“I’m glad to be an Eagle Scout,” he said. “It’s a lot of hard work and time, but it’s definitely worth it and will help me immensely in life.”