Eagle Scout connects senior citizens to nature

By Gigi Ekstrom

Lakehill senior Koby Watkins (pictured below) has earned the Boy Scouts of America’s highest advancement award, the Eagle Scout Award. He is the 155th member of Troop 259 to attain the rank of Eagle. Only around six percent of all Boy Scouts achieve this honor.

Photo courtesy of Lakehill

Each candidate must earn 21 merit badges and successfully complete a community service project to earn his Eagle. Watkins built a 9 feet x 6 feet, wheelchair-accessible, above-ground garden at the retirement home where his grandfather had lived. “It seemed to me like many senior citizens did not have the opportunity to interact with nature, and I wanted to provide them with that,” said Watkins.

Watkins led six to 10 scouts at a time in various jobs, such as nailing and hammering, throughout the course of a month. They also tackled more difficult tasks, such as using a blow torch and cementing 12 posts. “I was familiar with woodworking,” said Watkins, “but I had to learn a lot about concrete.”

There were some unexpected challenges with access and materials while working on the project. “It’s important to be flexible,” he said. “There will always be problems. You have to think outside the box to create solutions. I like to turn negatives into positives.”

In addition to completing his project, Watkins earned 25 merit badges and held the leadership positions of Quartermaster for two years, Patrol Leader for a year, and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader for two years. Watkins will help fill the garden with soil and plant herbs, which will be used in the retirement center’s kitchen. “The garden that I built will last for a long time and will bring a lot of joy and happiness,” he said. “I am happy to have been able to provide a connection to nature for senior citizens.”

The Court of Honor for Watkins will be held this winter. Congratulations to an outstanding young man on receiving Scouting’s highest honor.