BY DEBBIE PAGE
Troutman Mayor Teross Young recently honored Henry Young for his work to beautify a section of ESC Park near the pavilion as his Eagle Scout Project.
The Statesville Troop 348 member “displayed character and exceptional project management in construction, refurbishment, and maintenance of ornamental flower beds,” according to the mayor’s proclamation.
Young, who lives just outside of Troutman with his father District Court Judge Rob Young and mother Kim, chose to enhance the park after meeting with Troutman staff, who suggested this area for his garden.
Young first had to fundraise for the project, building and selling bluebird houses for $10 each a year before actually beginning the project. After securing permission to construct the garden, he began drawing up plans for submission for approval for the Eagle project.
He set up a schedule of work days and recruited his troop members for help. He selected a variety of perennials, bulbs, mulch, and other materials and secured eight Scouts and four adults to help on the two official work days.
Since finishing the garden and earning his Eagle Scout award last July, Henry and his parents continued garden maintenance through the summer, watering, weeding, and replacing mulch and dead plants as needed.
Young began in scouting in first grade. He soon aspired to attain Eagle status as a personal goal, earning the merit badges and skills needed to reach that target.
Overseeing this large protect taught Young organizational skills and leadership qualities that will serve him throughout his life.
Young also “learned to be persistent with whatever I do and to make sure to keep going with things and not give up.”
Also, in the Order of the Arrow (OA), Young learned to work both independently and as part of a team. He had the opportunity to go to two High Adventure Bases, where he worked with the National Park Service, experiences that helped him learn to be independent.
On the West Virginia experience, Young helped build trails. In the Florida Keys, he worked at the Dry Tortugas National Park helping to maintain Fort Jefferson.
Young learned survival skills in his wilderness experiences, but he also had to completely plan the trips, including flight and other travel arrangements.
Young encourages young people to get involved with scouting “because it definitely changed me in better ways. It enabled me to go experience parts of North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee and other states that I wouldn’t have ever done. I don’t think I would have gone hiking as much as I did.”
Along with hiking and camping skills, scouting also taught Young basic first aid, citizenship knowledge, how to earn leadership positions, and the value and sense of accomplishment found in community service.
Judge Young said that Henry’s introverted nature transformed as he became more outgoing through scouts and his leadership roles, “though I think he would rather chew glass than give a public speech,” he joked.
Henry’s quiet confidence also emerged over the years as he developed a mild-mannered but effective leadership style and a deepening maturity through his OA experiences. His experience in the Keys also solidified his vision of working for the National Park Service.
“I give the scouts a lot of credit for helping him mature, helping him take on things like leadership roles and responsibility to others outside of himself. I think it’s done a lot of good in that respect,” said Judge Young.
Kim said that scouting forced Henry to do things out of his comfort zone, like eating vegetables. “He’s an intense vegetable hater. He learned on the trail that vegetables were a big component of your food, and if you get hungry enough, you start to think vegetables are a great idea.”
Trip planning, budgeting, and traveling alone helped him gain confidence and independence. “He’s also built relationships with other scouts. He’s happy in the corner reading a book, but this brought him out of his shell. It’s been a good thing,” added Kim.
Young has applied to a number of colleges all over the country. After graduation from South Iredell in May, Henry plans to study history and perhaps work with the National Park Service as a career.