Michael Bengtson of Troop 150 recently built two Gaga ball courts for Stoner Creek Elementary as part of his Eagle Scout project. Gaga is a fast-paced game that encourages movement and exercise and is a great choice for school playgrounds because children of any size, age or athletic ability can play.
The cost of the project was $3,000 and took more than 120 volunteer hours to complete. Michael chose this project because he always loved Stoner Creek, believes that recess and physical activity are an important part of child development, and wanted to give back to the school that gave so much to him.
An Eagle project of any size requires months of planning and must be approved by the beneficiary, the Troop leaders and the District Advancement Chair. The Scout is completely in charge of the project and must demonstrate leadership skills by supervising both adult and peer volunteers, handling unexpected changes to the project and ensuring that safety protocols are followed. Scouts raise money for their projects by doing presentations to community groups or individuals. They are assisted by their unit leaders and fellow Scouts during the construction phase.
Eagle projects are done in service to the community and not for individual recognition. Many projects have been completed in Mt. Juliet without fanfare. Just along the stretch of North Mt. Juliet Road from I-40 to Lebanon Road, there are nine Eagle projects ranging from flag poles to Eagle Park. The economic impact of those projects is between $250,000 to $500,000.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a long, complex process. Of all boys who join Scouts, only 4 percent become Eagle Scouts. If you compare the number of eligible youth with the number of Eagle Scouts, it is less than .5 percent. In a typical year, only 8-12 Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle in the Hermitage Scouting district (Mt. Juliet, Gladeville, Hermitage, Donelson, Old Hickory).
Michael hopes the students at Stoner Creek will enjoy the Gaga courts for years to come.