Palmetto High School senior Patrick Schaefer is on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. He’s a member of Boy Scout Troop 840 out of St. Louis Catholic Church and he needed to complete his project by Nov. 30, his 18th birthday, to meet eligibility requirements to be an Eagle.”
“My grandfather was an Eagle Scout and both of his sons were Eagle Scouts,” Schaefer says. “My oldest brother got his Eagle project done, but my other brother didn’t have time to finish his project. I’d like to finish for my grandfather.”
So on Nov. 6, Schaefer and about 40 of his friends – both scouts and classmates – went to Joyce Diehl’s house to clean up her yard to make it more appealing. Diehl is 92 years old and she can no longer work in the yard. As a result, the backyard was cluttered and needed care.
Schaefer and his friends threw away everything no longer needed in her backyard and tore down an existing greenhouse. They also planted a new elevated garden so Diehl doesn’t have to bend down to work with her plants.
“We made a wooden platform three-anda- half feet above the ground,” Schaefer says.
The garden the boys planted was simple so she wouldn’t have to stress about it.
“She was really into gardening when she was younger and I’m trying to give it back to her,” Schaefer says.
Schaefer found out about Diehl and her needs through the Community Foundation of Pinecrest’s Seniors Need Assistance Program (SNAP). He started planning the project in June and put in countless hours getting everything ready for the big day. He estimates that he has accumulated more than 300 community service hours, not counting the hours spent Nov. 6 working on the actual Eagle project.
“I also helped with the Deering Estate Seafood Festival, which is a day-long celebration where they get local food vendors such as Golden Rule,” Schaefer says. “They have a live band. It’s a place where the community can get together.”
At the festival, he brought ice to the vendor, set up tents and tables and moved coolers. He also helped direct people where to go.
“I really enjoyed doing it so I’ve gone back the past two years,” he says. “I plan on doing it again this year.”
Schaefer also plans on playing lacrosse again this year. He played defense on varsity last year.
“Lacrosse is something I really care about and I’m passionate about playing,” he says.
Schaefer’s mom is involved in the lacrosse booster club, a huge part of the success of the club sport team. As a club sport, lacrosse isn’t funded by the school, so the booster club helps with fundraising.
“The kids have to buy their own equipment and we have to pay for field usage, for refs, for buses and we have to spend money for our own uniforms,” Schaefer says.
As for the future, Schaefer is looking to attend a Florida university to help keep tuition costs down. He’s considering Florida State, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida and the University of Miami. He’s considering majoring in one of the sciences, but something hands on.
“I don’t want to be stuck behind a desk doing numbers for the rest of my life,” he says.