Summit County boy scout organizes planting project |

Summit County boy scout organizes planting project

Special to the Daily/Vic Freestone

At the age of 14, Garrett Giles is young for an Eagle Scout. Most young men do not reach the Boy Scout rank until the ages of 16 or 17. To achieve it, contenders must earn a certain number of merit badges, demonstrate scout spirit, and plan, organize, and lead a service project for the community. For Giles’ big project, he chose to plant trees at Prospect Campground on Swan Mountain, which he accomplished this past September.

Giles, who attends Summit High School, said the beetle kill around the county inspired him to pursue the project. He picked Prospect Campground because he knew the trees were closer together there, which meant more damage from beetles. Giles and about 60 volunteers spent about six hours transplanting 105 trees from a lower, denser area of the mountain.

Giles picked and organized the idea with the help of the Hilary Hannon-McFarland, who was the youth coordinator at Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD). She helped him with ideas and served as a mentor during the project. Giles did all of the work himself.

Hannon-McFarland said Giles is an “outstanding” member of the community.

“I have nothing but warm feelings for Garrett,” Hannon-McFarland said. “He was a pleasure to work with.”

Giles started planning the project in May, and spent about 200 hours of his free time organizing the event. His responsibilities included getting volunteers, marking everything out, and telling everyone where to go and what to do. To advertise for help, he posted notices in the Daily and on bulletin boards in recreation centers and neighborhoods. People from the FDRD and his church also volunteered for the transplanting, which took about six hours. The FDRD supplied all of the tools for the day. Giles said the project took a lot of hard work.

“It was fun, and time consuming,” he said.

Giles said the time he put into the planting project was beneficial because it taught him to be a leader. He said he is proud of himself for taking on a big task that “most people can’t take on.”

“He stepped up and earned his Eagle Scout,” said Sarah Slaton, program manager at the FDRD.

Giles was awarded his Eagle Scout rank at the end of January. He became a Boy Scout at the age of 11 and moved through the scout ranks in three years: scout, tenderfoot, second class, first class and life scout. Other tasks to achieve his status include camping 35 times, canoeing 50 miles, swimming a half-mile, and earning 21 merit badges; 10 of which were required.

Giles said he is proud of his achievement, and hopes to become a coach to prospective Eagle Scouts. As for the planting project, Giles said he would definitely do it again.

Hannon-McFarland said his “awesome planning” and “successful leadership” lead to the project’s prosperity.

“I can’t wait to see where he’s going,” she said.

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