Eric Johnson completes his Eagle Scout Rank Community Service Project at YMCA of the Rockies
Eric Johnson started as a Cub Scout in first grade and earned his Eagle Scout Rank with Troop 10 on April 4th, 2017. Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scout Program. Candidates must be active in their troop, demonstrate that they live by the principles of the Scout Law and Scout Oath on a daily basis, complete a community service project and earn 21 merit badges in categories such as: Emergency Preparedness, Citizen in the Nation, Personal Fitness, Cooking, Camping and Family Life.
Over the years Johnson enjoyed a variety of scouting activities and when he decided to pursue the Eagle Scout Rank, he worked with Greg Bunton, Chaplain at YMCA of the Rockies to improve and repair an existing prayer trail for his community service project. Johnson was excited to complete this project at the YMCA since both his parents are employed there and he lives on the YMCA grounds. Johnson says, “It felt like I was giving back to an organization that has helped take care of my family.”
YMCA Chaplain Greg Bunton is excited to share the prayer trail with guests and members of the YMCA of the Rockies saying, “The Prayer Trail is a gentle, but constant reminder that we are called to a life of prayer. It also demonstrates that there are many ways to engage in prayer, and it is our hope that those who walk it will experience the transformation that can take place when we intentionally spend time actively connecting with God and with others here at the YMCA of the Rockies. Eric has built more than a trail; he has created an opportunity for people of all ages to experience the healing power of prayer, and for that we are deeply grateful.”
An important requirement of the Eagle Scout community service project is leadership. Johnson wasn’t supposed to do all the work himself, instead, he needed to recruit and lead his friends and fellow scouts through the project using leadership skills he’d practiced while working on merit badges. Of the project, Johnson says, “The biggest thing I learned was how important it is to lead by example. We got a lot of work done and we were more efficient when we worked together.”
Some of the work required trail maintenance, excavation and his team also dug post holes and installed new signs for prayer stations. The prayer trail has several self-guided stations where participants can stop, read scripture, pray and express gratitude before continuing.
The prayer trail was originally created by Ben Van Der Werf who also earned his Eagle Scout Rank. Johnson liked knowing that he was maintaining the work of another scout from Troop 10 to preserve it for the future.
On April 4th, Johnson stood in the community room of the Estes Park Library before the Eagle Scout Board of Reviews to present his project. The board had the opportunity to ask questions about the service project, the scout laws and how they will be a part of his life going forward before they awarded him with the Eagle Scout Rank.
Dave DeLuca, Estes Park Center Director for the YMCA of the Rockies is thankful for Johnson’s hard work and partnership saying, “The prayer trail project gave the YMCA another opportunity to support our local community and its many youth-serving organizations. Eric Johnson has given the YMCA of the Rockies a gift that will benefit our members and guests for many years.”