Scouts put their backs into their work

Troop 198 tackles 10 projects that will help its members earn Eagle awards

The Boy Scouts of Troop 198 kept burning the lumber with the circular saw, ribbing each other about it with good nature the whole time.

The scouts were cutting the wood to build kiosks to provide protection for state maps at rest stops.

It's one of 10 projects the scouts are working on to earn their Eagle awards, the highest achievement in scouting.

Ten of the troop's 15 members are Life Scouts.

Ten projects may seem like a lot of work, but the scouts say they enjoy it.

Steve Crisp, Lincoln Cleverly, Clark Cleverly, Nathan Elgin, Curtis Elgin, Klein Nielson, Derek Elgin, Brian Graler and Clay Sanders are either in the process of planning or completing their Eagle projects.

"We've all been going strong for the last few years. We support each other," Lincoln Cleverly, troop leader, said.

Aside from earning the 21 badges necessary to receive an Eagle award, the scouts must plan and execute their own project. The projects usually take 100 to 200 man-hours, said Derrick Cleverly, one of the troops adult leaders.

It's essentially a leadership project, Derrick said. The scout leads the others during the work day, then writes a report at the end of the project to show what he's done.

The kiosks are Lincoln's project, but troop members and some of their fathers help him with it.

"I've been planning it through the summer. It takes a lot of work," Lincoln said.

The boys have a good idea of where to go to get a project, Derrick Cleverly said. Often the State Parks Service, Bureau of Land Management, Craig City Council or Moffat County commissioners provide project ideas.

Steve Crisp has big plans. He's either going to start a recycling center in Craig -- a project he recognizes as an enormous undertaking -- or post signs along the Yampa River to demarcate public and private land for rafters.

Brian Graler has almost finished painting the outbuildings at the First Christian Church. He still has some touch-up painting to do around the windows. Other scouts have planted willows in Yampa River State Park and established trail systems there.

But most of the scouts say they do it more for the trips they take than the work. Although the scouts are 13 to 17 years old, there's an age gap in the troop that is noticeable as the scouts work on Lincoln's kiosks. The older scouts saw lumber in the back of the warehouse; the younger ones play tag in the front.

It's all right that way, Lincoln said. The scouts his age are a crew he describes as "pretty tight." Only one or two boys have drifted away from the troop, and they didn't drop out as much as they just didn't finish, he said.

The crew goes on camping trips together regularly.

The consensus "best adventure" was a trip to the Wind Rivers last summer.

Equipped with crampons and ice axes, the older scouts climbed the largest glaciers in the lower 48 states.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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