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Local student completes Eagle Scout project at BL High School

Boy Scout Evan McGown

Submitted material

EAST LIVERPOOL — Concerned with the comfort and possible safety of his fellow band members and director at Beaver Local High School, local Boy Scout Evan McGown decided to gear his Eagle Scout project toward addressing those concerns.

The 15-year-old member of Troop 12 based at Longs Run Church has been in Boy Scouts for five years and will be a sophomore at the high school this coming year. He is also a percussionist in the band. As a band member, McGown became concerned that, on the practice field behind the school, the band director has always had to stand on 6-foot scaffolding with almost no railing and a single walkway. In addition, the field itself has seen better days, with some erosion and washed out areas which have caused band members to trip and sometimes turn their ankles while practicing, according to McGown.

So, when he started thinking about doing an Eagle Scout project, rectifying what he considered a safety concern came to mind. “Because I’m truly dedicated to the band, I thought, hey, here’s something we can fix and make it right,” McGown said, and the Band Camp Project began, once permission was sought from the board of education with the help of Superintendent Eric Lowe.

“I appreciate their support,” McGown said.

Considerable planning, discussions with construction companies, securing donations and volunteers followed, with McGown saying the hardest part was getting people signed up and getting enough donations, but ultimately 400 volunteer hours and $2,500 were donated for the project. While monetary donations were given, some companies also donated equipment, such as the McGown’s grandfather’s company, Hall’s Welding, which donated use of a one-ton to transport lumber and drinks to workers.

He also said price estimates for the project ranged from $2,000 to $4,000, but was kept low due to a discount given by 84 Lumber.

The scout chose local contractor Mike Diloreto to design a 15-foot-tall, multi-level tower made with treated lumber.

McGown said, “With the scaffolding, all we had were vertical stairs, so if you fall off, it’s going to hurt. I decided to make a platform so they can walk up steps.”

Work started in June with filling holes in the field and planting grass seed, and McGown said it is anticipated the field will be ready for the season’s practice.

Over three weekends, not only McGown and his fellow scouts, but band kids and band parents worked on the project, and he said all the volunteers wanted to not only be part of the project, but the band kids especially wanted to “help make history for this band.”

The youngsters were not allowed to use the power tools such as saws but could use cordless screwdrivers to help with the actual construction of the tower.

McGown hopes to go into engineering upon graduation, and after spending about 50 hours on just the planning and paperwork for the project in addition to the construction portion, said the experience taught him how much he can do but also how much he still needs to learn.

Saying it was satisfying to combine band and scouting on this project, McGown said he will not only have the satisfaction of saying he is an Eagle Scout, a designation only 8 percent of scouts worldwide attain, but that it was “very personal being a band kid and doing something for the band of this magnitude.”

Paperwork describing the project will now be submitted to the Boy Scout Council to determine whether or not it is an Eagle Scout-worthy project and whether McGown will receive that designation.

According to his father, Mike McGown, a Scoutmaster the past two years and an Eagle Scout himself since 1982, Troop 12 has had 10 members successfully become Eagle Scouts in the past three years.

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