Local Scouts achieve rare honor



EAGLESCOUTS
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Five Gilford High School seniors on their way to achieving Eagle Scout status include Nick Bailey, Parker Raus, Albert Doyle, Justin Roper, and James Coddington. (Lauren Tiner) (click for larger version)
March 16, 2011
Five Gilford Boy Scouts have achieved Eagle Scout status or plan to achieve eagle status by the end of the school year possibly the largest amount of senior Eagle Scouts Gilford has watched graduate for years.

To become an Eagle Scout, a minimum of 21 merit badges must be earned over the years, yet several of these scouts have earned up to 30 badges. A scout must then create a final community project to achieve eagle status.

This particular project must benefit the community, educational or religious organizations. These community projects, by rule of thumb, demand up to 100 man-hours, although when the brainstorming process is taken into consideration, these hours can easily double.

Gilford senior James Coddington, who started out as a young Tiger Cub years ago, became an Eagle Scout this past February. He has earned 30 merit badges. The Coddington family orchestrated his ceremony at the Congregational Church of Laconia, the very place he chose to act out his final project the renovation of the church Tower Room.

"The Tower Room in the church had become a junk room. We emptied the room, painted the walls, the radiator and the ceiling, and reorganized the room," said Coddington.

A new storage closet was also added to the Tower Room with shelving for storage containers.

"For the church, this is a now a much more useful room. They can store their decorations year round now and can easily bring decorations up and down the stairs," said Coddington. "Before, they had to climb over things to get to the room. It's much nicer and easier for the church to access now."

Fellow scout Parker Raus also obtained eagle status, earning 36 merit badges and three eagle palms.

After achieving the highest rank, scouts can continue to earn merit badges up to age 18. After every five extra merit badges are achieved, an Eagle Scout receives an eagle palm award.

For his final community project, Raus built a puppet house currently located downstairs in the children's room of Gilford Public Library.

Since Raus's mother was once a librarian at the Gilford library, he found the project to be fitting. He said his mother was also happy to report that the puppet house received much usage in the play area.

Gilford senior Nick Bailey has yet do receive his eagle badge, yet he is in the final steps of the process, with 21 merit badges under his belt and a completed community project.

"My project was repairing a trail system at a summer camp in Gorham. It's a hiking trail up in the mountains," said Bailey. "A lot of people liked the trail in the Gorham area. There was a giant mud pit, so we built bridges for people to walk through these areas. People appreciate it."

Eagle Scout Justin Roper has received 31 merit badges and two eagle palms over the course of his scout career. For his community project, Roper built a bridge and boardwalk on the nature trail outside of the Gilford Elementary School grounds.

"With my project, I knew it provided safer access to the trials. The trails were smaller before; now there is better access for the community and the students," said Roper.

Albert Doyle, waiting on word of an application recently submitted to a board of review, has earned 22 merit badges. For his final project, Doyle constructed a hiking trail behind the Gilford farm stand Beans & Greens. Since the trail is still new, locals may not be aware of the trail's existence.

"For my project, the hard part was getting the word out about the new hiking trail. My neighbors use the trail in the winter for snowshoeing. One neighbor is even working on a Web site to get more people to access the trail," said Doyle, who completed his project before the first snowfall.

While each scout designed their own individual project, all five Gilford seniors can agree that their shared experiences in Boy Scouts over the years will give them confidence and leadership tools to utilize long into the future.

"It teaches you to be a leader in the community and encourages you to be pro-active. It prepares you for future jobs and life skills. You also hold a higher standard for yourself," said Coddington. "I've learned important morals and values along the way. I did a lot of service work and had a lot of fun."

When asked what it means to be an Eagle Scout, Doyle said that becoming an Eagle Scout also means becoming a role model for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Tiger Scouts.

"Now that we are older scouts, it's our turn to be the role models," said Doyle.

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