The Eagle Scout Service Project is the culmination of a scout’s training, and it requires significant leadership while performing a project that benefits a non-profit in their community.
A junior at Palmer Trinity High School, Grant Kleber of Scout Troop 457 chose the restoration of the American Legion Post 133 in Palmetto Bay for his Eagle Scout Project.
“My grandfathers have served in the military and I am proud of them,” explained Kleber. “I chose the American Legion because I want to give back to those who fought to defend our freedom, and I drive by this post seeing that it needed some repairs.”
A lot of coordinating and planning went into the project so that Grant and his team of volunteers could make the most of the morning on November 23rd to restore the American Legion. Upon pulling up to the worksite, you could see that everyone was hard at work including Grant, but he was working under unusual circumstances, with his left arm in a sling.
“During the second game of the Palmer football season, I tore my labrum,” said Klebler. “I played through the season until our second-to-last game and when I finally had it checked, they said I had to have surgery.”
“I realized my recovery would be the same time as my project, which is kind of a bummer, and I am the type that leads by example, so this is forcing me to find a different way to lead,” explained Klebler. “With my arm in a sling I am able to guide the volunteers through what to do, which is really what the project is all about.”
With close to forty volunteers representing family, fellow troop scouts, Palmer Trinity football teammates, and members of the Palmetto Bay community, including volunteers from Christ Fellowship Miami, the morning was packed full of restoration activities.
“When you have an Eagle Project everyone in the troop turns out to help,” said Troop Scoutmaster Julie Ziska. “As you can see we are hard at work redoing the landscaping beds, repainting the American Legion sign, repairing the fence, redoing the front entries, and building picnic tables.”
The Commander of American Legion Post 133, Robert Prince, was also among those that were there to volunteer and oversee the work that was being done for the project.
“We were thrilled when Grant asked if he could do the project for his Eagle Scout and proposed fixing the fence, painting and restoring the space,” said Commander Prince. “We had been agonizing over that fence for about three or four years and how we were going to repair our logo on the side of the building that was faded out. Along came Grant, and he has done a really great job organizing, coordinating with us throughout the entire project and we are very happy and thankful.”
Even Mayor Karyn Cunningham of the Village of Palmetto Bay assisted with the project by including volunteer information in her weekly email blast and stopped by the American Legion to see the progress of the project.
“We are very blessed to live in a community where individuals think of others before themselves and in Grant’s case, when you are serving others that serve, that is a pretty big deal,” said Mayor Cunningham. “One of the things we have done here in the village is to create a Serve With The Mayor program so when individuals like Grant reach out with a project, we can assist in bringing awareness to the cause and help get volunteers.”
The final culmination of one’s time as a Boy Scout is through the Eagle Scout Project and all the work and leadership skills that one learns during that time, but the journey to get there is full of learning and life experiences.
“My sash is at home and I can’t wear it with my arm brace but I have about 30-some merit badges,” said Klebler. “There are 21 badges that are Eagle required which are the basics, like first aid, camping, swimming and then there a few that I went on to do myself.”
When asked which was his favorite, there was no hesitation in his response.
“The badge for canoeing,” Klebler said. “We went on a trip to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, and every time I look at that merit badge I think directly about the experience in nature. These experiences have made me who I am, and I would not trade them for anything.”
Grant encourages others to consider joining the Boy Scouts and says that the experiences you gain help remind you about what really matters in life.
“I think if more people were a part of it, the world would be a better place,” said Klebler. “There would be more Eagle Scout projects and a lot more leadership in younger people.”
For more information on the Boy Scouts of America and Troop 457, please visit www.bsatroop457.org.