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Hall County teen earn honorable status
Boy Scout builds church patio and swings to earn Eagle ranking
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Chad Ashe, from left, and David Allen look at Dallas Wright’s patio work after Dallas’ Eagle Scout Honor Court on March 8 at West Hall Baptist Church. Dallas built the church’s patio as part of the requirements for his Eagle badge. Ashe is the Troop 228 committee chairman and Allen is the troop’s former scout master. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Fifteen-year-old Dallas Wright, like a lot of teenagers, turned to social media when he needed to find some inspiration for his Eagle Scout service project.

In order to attain Eagle Scout status, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, scouts are required to plan, raise funds for and lead a service project for a nonprofit group in their community. According to the Boys Scouts of America, only about 7 percent of Boy Scouts reached the rank in 2012. From 1912 to 2012, about 2 million Boy Scouts earned the honor.

“It started when I looked on Facebook,” said Wright, a member of Boy Scout Troop 228 in Flowery Branch. “Facebook is, of course, pretty much an everyday thing to most people that I know. My grandmother told me about different projects she’d seen on there. She pulled one up and I thought, ‘Well, that’d be a good Eagle project.”

Wright began planning the project about five months ago. Ultimately, he constructed a swing arbor with a fire pit, similar to the one he saw online, for West Hall Baptist Church in Oakwood.

Ken Cochran, the Life to Eagle Scout counselor for Troop 228, helped Wright as he worked through the final project. Wright’s grandfather also assisted.

Wright built the wooden, hexagonal arbor over a brick patio around a brick fire pit. Three swings were hung around the arbor to create a space for church members to fellowship and worship.

Wright, who has been attending programs at the church since he was a child, said he chose that location because he knew the church members would put it to good use.

Mike Reynolds, senior pastor of West Hall Baptist Church, said a debate is going on among church members about who gets to use it first.

“The swings are my favorite,” Reynolds said. “But the fire pit is going to be a fun part, too. I think our youth are going to use it and the ladies Bible study is talking about using it on Thursday nights. I’m sure I’ll be the one (who) gets to go build the fire for them. It’s really neat, they’re planting flowers around it and the men’s ministry is planting some kind of a vine that will grow up and cover the top and give it shape.”

Cochran said he’s pleased with the way Wright’s project turned out and with the effort Wright put in.

“It’s a leadership project,” Cochran said. “We hope they learn how to lead, they learn to organize.”

Wright said he’s enjoyed working on the project and has grown from the challenge.

“I think it’s good for any boy who wants to actually work on the thing,” Wright said. “Personally, I’ve gotten leadership skills, confidence, self-growth and coming out of my shell more or less to say.”

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