Though completing an Eagle Scout project is a necessary requirement to ascend to the Eagle rank, many Scouts forge a personal connection with their service projects and hope that it will mean as much to others as it does the Scout.
Felipe Q. of the North Florida Council spearheaded an Eagle Scout project that he hopes will instill a passion for aquatics in his community – just as Scouting did for him.
The Scout is rebuilding an 80-foot-long University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF IFAS) Fisheries Dock with the help of Fishing for Success, an IFAS Extension and Outreach Program that educates children about aquatic environments and teaches them how to fish. Felipe also welcomed donations from local businesses and the time of more than 2 dozen volunteers.
“It was when I came out here for service hours for Boy Scouts, we were cleaning up some hydrangea bushes, we were filling up hot dog bags, we were redoing some cane polls,” Felipe shared with WUFT. “This dock has been here for about 16 years, and we kind of noticed how run down it was.”
Felipe’s father, Ricky, says his son came up with the idea after reaching out to IFAS staff and community members to see how he could bring the project to life.
“He had to organize it, he planned it, and it’s been going on now for about a year,” Ricky said. “To be able to get his Eagle project, he had to design a plan and go to a committee and have it approved before he could do anything.”
Felipe and his dad have been visiting the site since he was 3 years old.
One of the Scout’s biggest concerns about the project was safety, so he worked with Dr. Charles Cichra, Fisheries Specialist with IFAS and director of Fishing for Success, to ensure the dock was compliant and safe for others to use.
“The big issue is that it was almost 20 years old and it was becoming unsafe. There were screws sticking up and boards warping and splintering,” Cichra said.
“I wanted to bring that to a better state,” Felipe explained. “It gives a lot of people the opportunity to learn what I did: how to fish and a lot about aquatic life.”
To learn more about this Scout’s Eagle Scout project, read the full story from WUFT. All photos courtesy of of Ricky Quintera.