While most 15-year-olds typically spend the last week of their summer vacations playing sports or hanging out with friends, Longmont teenager and Boy Scout Erik Yoho had a different project in mind: revitalize an iconic piece of his hometown.
Yoho, a member of local Boy Scout Troop 66, spent the bulk of Saturday, Aug. 14 at Longmont’s historic Hover Home property, where he led his fellow troops members in completely refurbishing the property’s garden shed, which needed heavy repairs after years of weather-induced wear and tear.
“The windows were completely rotted out,” said Scott Yoho, Erik’s father. “We replaced some siding and some trim last weekend. And then this weekend, we had all the scouts come up, and they scraped all the old paint and painted the whole building.”
Longmont’s Hover Home was built in 1913 and served as the home and agricultural property of wealthy pharmacists Charles and Katherine Hover. Bought by the St. Vrain Historical Society, or SVHS, in 1997, the main mansion now plays host to corporate events and wedding ceremonies for the general public of Longmont, while smaller units such as the garden shed are still used for storage and maintenance.
However, this was no simple paint job on the shed. Erik chose this undertaking as his Eagle Scout Service Project, a rite of passage for Boy Scouts who are attempting to attain the Eagle Scout rank. It can be earned through a demonstration of the leadership of a service project that benefits the scout’s local community.
“What's great about an Eagle Project is that the boys learn how to do leadership. The adults are around to help support, but we don’t do the work,” said Tony Martinez, Scoutmaster for Troop 66.
Erik was able to demonstrate leadership throughout the day, as he constantly circled the shed, either helping his troop members with the paint job or checking in to make sure they stayed on task, coordinated and well hydrated on the sweltering summer day.
“I thought he did a good job (on Saturday) keeping all the scouts that showed up active,” Scott Yoho said. “It's tough. Sometimes with these projects, there's something for some scouts to do and the other scouts are mostly goofing off. Well, this project kind of lends itself to giving everybody a paintbrush, so everybody has something to do. I thought (Erik) did a good job. He went around and did some troubleshooting during the course of the day.”
“As a Scoutmaster, I get to see the boys who have the Eagle Scout in them,” Martinez said. “Eric is definitely one of those boys who, when things need to be done, jumps in and gets something done. He is one of the types of kids that all the boys like to hang around.”
Erik also had the task of assembling a group of people who he could count on for the project, which included a dozen members of his troop, Scoutmaster Martinez, his father and several other adults, before coordinating the physical labor that needed to get done on Saturday.
“How do you overcome adversity? All you need is good people around you,” Martinez said, alluding to the bulk of work that goes into an Eagle Project and the lessons to be learned from the process.
However, the work is far from done for Erik, who now has to recap the project in a written report that will be reviewed by a national board. If the project and Erik’s summary of it is then approved, he will finally reach the Eagle Scout rank.
“I'm really excited for him to complete his Eagle,” Martinez added. “He still has work to do. But he’s so close.”
But beyond that?
“He’s super active,” Scott Yoho said, noting that Erik is set to begin the tenth grade next week, where he’ll play basketball, track and soccer. For Erik, achieving the Eagle Scout rank will just be an added component in his bustling life as a young adult.
“I've watched him go from a goofy little kid when he was 10, to where he is now,” Martinez said. “He's really matured into an awesome young man.”