Doing something for his alma mater
That being the case, he didn’t have to look very far to decide what to do for his Eagle Scout community service project. He knew he wanted to do something for TLC.
“I’m like, you know, this would be a great project!” he said. “I could give back to the place that’s given me so much.”
TLC recently received a USDA grant to put in gardens so children can grow and eat fresh food. The project will teach them about science and nutrition and get them excited about eating vegetables.
Kurtis decided to build and install the planter boxes so they’d be ready for seedlings.
He made plans, recruited other scouts to help, and scheduled deliveries of soil and bark dust. Then, on Saturday, he led the crew that leveled the garden area, assembled planters and filled them with dirt. During free moments, Kurtis and his crew cleaned the playground equipment, too.
Throughout the effort, Kurtis said, he emphasized that this wasn’t his project, but a joint effort by the Scouts. “When we help others, it’s ‘we,’ as a group,” he said.
Kurtis has been in Scouting since he was about 10, when he asked his parents if he could become a Cub Scout. “I just fell in love with it,” he said.
He’s now a member of Boy Scout Troop 266, which meets at the Methodist Church.
He also is active in Sea Scouts, a Scouting program that focuses on sailing.He and the other Sea Scouts and leader Ron Peterson take out the Hesperus, a 20-foot sailboat, every few weeks.
A purser in his troop, he recently demonstrated his knot-tying skills at a regatta competition.
In addition, he is on the staff at the Boy Scout camp Adventure Cove in Cloverdale. Being on the camp staff lets him use many of the skills he’s learned in scouting, including survival, lifesaving, communication and organization skills, he said.
“Scouting has really helped prepare me,” he said.
Those skills also are useful at TLC when he monitors children’s play and runs educational activities as an assistant to the teachers. He said he loves talking to the children and watching them learn. He also likes working with the staff, which includes his mother, TLC Director Wendy Heston, and his sister and grandmother, too.
Working at the preschool has given him a new perspective, he said. As a child, he couldn’t see the sense in the reprimands he received on occasion. But now he understands what the teachers must do to keep order and help children learn proper behavior.
“Now I can empathize with the kids and with the staff, too,” he said.