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Boy Scout working his way up in the ranks
High schoolers Eagle project to provide playground
Shea Barger
Shea Barger

Being a Boy Scout can lead to friendships that will last a lifetime; however, participating in this organization is no easy task.

Boy Scouts are dedicated, determined and responsible young men and the pressure is on for each of them as they work on their Eagle Scout ranking, scouting’s highest award.

Shea Barger, a sophomore at North Hall High School who is a member of Boy Scout Troop 16 in Gainesville, is currently striving toward just that.

Barger, who first joined the Cub Scouts when he was in first grade, said that being involved as a Boy Scout has taught him how to do different things outdoors, and he has gained a love for it. He has also learned responsibility, leadership and how to work well in groups.

Barger explained that to get to the Eagle Scout ranking, you have to have a certain amount of merit badges, and you also need to hold leadership positions within the troop.

“You also have to have work hours and complete the Eagle project,” said Barger, who admits that the process is “pretty tough.”

Barger was going to do landscaping work for his Eagle project until he found out through his father’s co-worker that a playground was needed for kids at the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children in Gainesville. The center offers hope for children that have been victims of abuse, neglect or maltreatment.

Barger said the playground will contain a slide and swing set, among other things.

“There will be a picnic table for adults to sit and watch,” Barger said. “I’m also going to be padding the area because it has a hard concrete floor.”

Barger believes that the playground will help the children at the Edmondson-Telford Center feel more at home and at ease while they receive the services offered by the center.

Barger said that the worst part of the project is working on the written description of his idea, which he has to get approved by different committees.

“Needless to say, everyone has to write theirs and then rewrite it over and over,” Barger said.

After getting initial approval, Barger could start working on his project.

“Every Eagle Scout project needs to have 100 man hours on it,” Barger said. “Once you get that done, there is another set of write-ups.”

Once the final written description is approved, a committee will decide if the Eagle Scout did a good job with his project. If the committee approves of Barger’s project, he will be awarded the Eagle Scout ranking.

Barger, who said he would enjoy the playground if he was still a kid, hopes to continue working on his project and finish the playground sometime in the spring.

“It has been a lot of hard work,” Barger said. “But it is less like something that I need to do and more like something that I feel good doing.”

Barger is seeking donations to help him buy the play set that has been requested by the children’s center, and other materials needed for safety and the picnic table. Those interested in helping can e-mail Barger at