DANVILLE — From choir robes to giving up birthday presents for homeless animals to Eagle Scout projects, many area youngsters put helping others first.
Danville Middle School student Calla Reeder didn’t want birthday gifts. Instead, she collected articles from fellow students and others, including food, bedding, toys and grooming supplies, for the Danville Adoption Center of the Pennsylvania SPCA. She delivered the gifts before Christmas.
Rainey Oldfield, 10, of Riverside, organized a project at Hoffman’s Sewing in Danville for girls to make 40 children’s choir robes for Haiti. A group from her church — First Baptist Church of Danville — delivered the robes recently. She got the idea after hearing a report in November 2011 by the church’s short-term mission team which had traveled to help out in Haiti.
Scout Executive Paul Knox said Columbia-Montour Boy Scout Council has 5 to 6 percent of its scouts receive Eagle Scout awards each year. The national average ranges from 2 to 4 percent.
“We are 1 to 2 percent higher than the national average,” he said. “We have anywhere between 20 to 30 Eagle Scouts a year. In the local community not only are there service hours but long-time residual benefits to the community and a project enjoyed many years to come.”
Traditionally, an Eagle Scout project takes at least 100 to 150 community service hours. “We have people who have served in the armed services who say scouting really prepared them to be a leader among other people in the service,” he said.
The 2012 Eagle class from Montour County included Joseph Baker, Brett Bergerstock, Steven Burke, Cody Creveling, Benjamin Fait, Jeffery Hauck, Ryan Powers, Benjamin Pegg, Andrew Pursel, Craig Rinaldi, Shane Rudloff, Shaun Weiss and Brent Zerby.
Also an Eagle Scout, Knox grew up in Vermont and served three two-year terms in the Vermont House of Representatives right after graduating from college. He has also worked in scouting in Albany, N.Y., and in Vermont.
Danville Area Community Center Executive Director Jean Knouse said the center has had its share of Eagle Scout projects. Knouse said Danville’s soccer park was the beneficiary of the most recent project. Jeff Hauck constructed a pavilion at the park.
“The very best way for children to learn generosity and give back to the community is through the example of their parents. I think the Eagle Scout is the most perfect example of that,” she said.
The center occasionally has groups of kids who want to do a school-based activity there. “We try to participate in as many of those projects as we are going forward in a strong community,” she said.