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Local Eagle Scouts ready to land with community projects



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Christian Stevenson (click for larger version)
September 07, 2011 - Three area teens will attain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor a Boy Scout can achieve, after completing community service projects.

Christian Stevenson, 15, a Goodrich High School sophomore, put in more than 100 hours on his project, a 10-foot-high by 12-foot-wide covered wood sign placed at the Goodrich Lions Club, located on S. State Road. The sign welcomes visitors to Goodrich and has space on it for community organizations to place plaques with their names and logos.

"It seemed like an interesting and unusual project," said Stevenson. "I started making it last November and we just finished it. It's a big weight off my shoulders. I think it looks really good. Only 2 percent of scouts ever achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, so it was important to me. I hope the sign will last a long time."

To achieve Eagle Scout rank, Life Scouts must meet several requirements, including completing by the age of 18 a service project helpful to any religious institution, school or the scout's community. The project, which is planned, developed and gives leadership to others, is approved by the organization that benefits from it, as well as the Scoutmaster and troop committee and the council or district.

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Courtland Yahn, 17, a 2011 Brandon High School graduate who is a freshman at Northern Michigan University, completed his Eagle Scout project on Aug. 6 and 7 at Harvey Swanson Elementary.

A Harvey Swanson alumnus, Yahn painted and performed multiple repairs to the playground "Fantasy Castle." He placed a plastic coating over the hand rails to prevent children from getting splinters, and powerwashed the structure to remove graffiti.

"I always played there when I was little, and I thought I should make it look better since I like it so much," Yahn said. "I had 13 people helping me, family and friends. I feel really good about this project, it looks way better than before and people use it everyday, so it's very helpful."

Eagle Scouts have to raise money for their projects, and Yahn raised $600 for his project through soliciting donations.

Harvey Swanson Principal Helen Clemetsen was thrilled with the rejuvenated playground.

"It looks so much better-AWESOME!" she wrote in an e-mail to The Citizen. "I am very grateful for Courtland and his team of hard workers! Their "gift of time" is invaluable and priceless! It was a HUGE project, took a lot of advance planning on Courtland's part, and I am very pleased that our students and community will have a visually appealing and safer playground to enjoy themselves on."

Oakwood Elementary Principal Kristy Spann is also excited about an Eagle Scout project that was installed at her school.

Andrew Halligan, 16, a Brandon High School junior, has researched, planned, raised funds, organized a workforce and overseen the construction of an outdoor learning center at Oakwood.

The center includes eight wood benches, four wood duck houses, two Baltimore Oriole feeders and one bathouse. He is also working with Wojo's Greenhouse to get butterfly bushes for the learning center.

Halligan contacted Spann, his former fourth grade teacher at H.T. Burt earlier this spring to find out if he could do anything for the new school and the learning center is what the two of them planned.

He conducted a bottle and can drive and raised more than $300, enough to purchase the materials, and then did the woodwork himself.

"It took four or five work days spread out over a month," Halligan said. "I liked working with friends, helping out a former teacher and friend... I think the kids will enjoy going outside and observing all the animals and just enjoying the outdoors. Ever since first grade, I've been in Scouts and this is the biggest accomplishment you can reach in scouting and it's been a goal of mine for a long time."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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