Eighteen-year-old Manchester Valley student, Logan Cavanagh was recently awarded his Eagle Scout award, a goal he’s had since he was just a small boy. He couldn’t have known then his would be the 50th Eagle Scout Award for Hampstead’s Troop 380.
He said the adventure, summer camping trips, and the friendships he has made through scouting have all made this journey one he is grateful for. His mom, Fayne Cavanagh, remembered how it all started, so many years ago.
“His dad [Chris] was a scout when he was little,” she said. “We I thought it was a good program. He liked being outdoors, he loved going camping, and [they] do a lot of projects, like the Pinewood Derby and building boats. He was a Tiger Scout in Cub Scouts pack 790, when he looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to be an Eagle Scout one day.’”
Fayne recalled the first time Logan went camping without them.
“They went to a camp that was 10 hours away in upstate New York. He was in the summer of fifth grade, so he was kind of young,” she said. “I told him, if you get homesick, I can’t just come get you. At that time, he wasn’t even sleeping over with friends yet, but he loved it. He had a great time and had no problem with getting homesick. That was the point that maybe melded him into that mindset of, ‘I am doing this.’”
Logan’s scoutmaster, Robert Kirby has been in scouting since 2008 and with Logan since Day One, through all the levels of scouting. In 2013, Kirby became Troop 380′s scoutmaster. Since then, he has watched 18 members become Eagle Scouts. The troop, sponsored by Wesley United Methodist Church, currently has 29 scouts in four patrols — ranging in age from sixth graders to seniors in High School.
“It’s been an exciting time,” Kirby said. “I’ve seen Logan grow up through scouts. I was his Cub Scout den leader back when he was a first grader at Spring Garden Elementary. Over the years each [Eagle] scout has helped the community in different ways — from improving community parks and helping local churches, to supporting NESAP [the Northeast Social Action Program] with a variety of projects. Each project tests the scout’s leadership skills in developing a plan, securing fundraising, and [recruiting] volunteers to help. With each scout we recommend finding a project that’s important to them. Doing that, creates that personal connection to the community.”
Kirby said earning the rank of Eagle Scout isn’t an easy accomplishment. It’s an arduous task with lots of new skills learned along the way, including camping and developing leadership skills. It takes time and perseverance.
“Using the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives creates character as young adults,” he said. “Typically, out of 100 scouts, only two will reach the rank of Eagle Scout. I’m proud of earning the rank of Eagle in 1988 with Troop 395 in Finksburg,” he added.
Logan said he has known since he was very young that his Eagle Scout project would be for the elementary school he attended. For that project, he built three new benches for Spring Garden Elementary School and repainted the blacktop of the school’s new playground with a colorful map of the United States, a four-square court, and hopscotch markings.
“I had two volunteers, my two best friends, Robert Useller and Kayla Riddle, who did the majority of painting the map. My parents took charge of painting the hopscotch and the four square court,” Logan said. “I had to do some research for the benches, which are made from recycled materials. I got those from a website that deals with schools, making sure to match the benches already at Spring Garden. Robert helped me assemble them.”
His mother said she knew Logan wanted to do his project at Spring Garden, but they weren’t sure what was needed at the time.
“The school was getting a new playground put in. At the time they were fundraising for equipment. We looked around and I asked the principal, Wendy Leishear, if we could do something with the playground. We came up with the blacktop since everything that had been painted was worn and washed away. She liked that and Logan was good with that, too. We had one buddy bench out there and he suggested we put a few more benches around, since the community uses that area sometimes too. It made it more park-like.”
According to Logan, Sherwin-Williams and Lowes donated to his project. The pre-cut pieces for the benches were purchased online from OCC Outdoors Unlimited.
“The painting took a day, about nine hours,” Logan said. The benches took about five hours, but the planning took 50-some hours. There is a 24-page document you have to submit to get the project approved. That goes back and forth until it is approved, and there is a seal of approval from the district headquarters. After that, you can order supplies and do the actual project. Then afterward, there is more paperwork.”
Logan said the pandemic definitely affected his project. His board review with the troop was held over Zoom.
“They fact-check everything, the money you collected and documented, your receipts, the paperwork filled, the signatures you need,” he said. “Everyone who was involved was very helpful, including Ms. [Lisa] Bowen my advancement committee chair.”
Logan received his award on Jan. 9, but, due to the pandemic, they are still waiting to hold the celebration, which is called the court of honor.
“It was the best feeling in the world,” he said. “Ever since I have been in Cub Scouts, I have wanted to be an Eagle Scout. I always wanted to give back to my elementary school. I had my heart set on doing my Eagle Scout project for them, to give back. And it all came together.”
The next step for Logan is college. He was accepted by two colleges but chose Utica College in upstate New York. He recommends scouting to other kids.
“We are so proud, beyond words,” Fayne said of how she and Logan’s dad, Chris, feel. “I never thought I’d see the day this would happen. To start as a Tiger, and now, to actually be here and done. It is definitely a journey, and through that journey, there can be a lot of tears. It’s hard and sometimes frustrating like any big thing you can do, but he stuck it out and now I get to see the project every day.”
Fayne, who is the permanent substitute teacher at Spring Garden, shared how the children now enjoy Logan’s project.
“The kids say, ‘Ooh, your son did this!’ It’s a nice positive thing all around,” she said.
“For me it’s a testament to the program at Troop 380 that we have put together that keeps the scouts engaged, especially as they become older and have other commitments such as school, work and athletics,” he said. “It’s an amazing accomplishment, that even a pandemic can’t slow down our scouts.”