Scout’s project is really for the birds

Scout’s project is really for the birds
Gray Creed, center, with his team of Scouts and adult helpers
Boy Scout Gray Creed, of Ortega, thought his Eagle Scout project would be a few repair projects for a Northside mission. Little did he know that it would be for the birds.
A member of Troop 2 at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Creed started Scouts when he was 11 and is now a Senior Patrol Leader. When it came time for his Eagle Scout project, he immediately wondered what he could do for the Sanctuary on 8th Street.
“My church, Riverside Presbyterian Church, helps out a lot there, and I thought it would be the perfect place to do my project, since they have such a great mission,” said Creed. “My Dad and I met the director, Vicky Watkins, who is also a member at Riverside Presbyterian Church. She showed us a few items of interest, like an old awning that was falling apart and part of the fencing around the A/C units that had broken.
“These would have been good projects in themselves, but as we were touring the back lot, Ms. Watkins remembered that the Sanctuary had been wanting chickens for a while, and asked if I could build a chicken coop.”
Alonzo Jackson, Genora Crain-Orth (River City Chicks), Eagle Scout Gray Creed, Vicky Watkins, executive director, Sanctuary on 8th Street

Alonzo Jackson, Genora Crain-Orth (River City Chicks), Eagle Scout Gray Creed, Vicky Watkins, executive director, Sanctuary on 8th Street

After doing some online research and checking with Riverside hen owner Genora Crain-Orth for specifics on how to keep rodents out and keep the coop neat and clean, Creed and his father came up with a design.

“We made a few changes to the design as we went, such as anchors added to the coop to prevent it from blowing away in a hurricane, and hooks inside the coop to hang things like water bottles from,” Creed related.
It took about three days’ worth of work to finish the project, he noted and said, “It actually ended up being more work than I expected.”
Creed and his team of 30 Scouts and adults spent four hours pre-cutting, then a few afternoons and evenings painting the wood. Next, the Scouts spent a full day building the coop, and added another three hours or so to put on the finishing touches.
“All in all, I alone put in over 40 hours of work, and all the hours from my helpers came to a grand total of over 140 hours. I started planning for the project last September,” said Creed. “The main building day took place on May 9. The final day of building and finishing touches was May 17.”
Creed was relieved to finish the project, but also felt a sense of pride and accomplishment “I was very happy that I had been able to help such a great organization. I only wish that I had been able to see the kids’ reactions when they first saw the coop,” he said. “It was a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work.”
Creed said that with the project finally complete, it’s one less thing to worry about now that he has started his college application process. Creed will be a senior at The Bolles School in the fall.

The rest of the story

Vicky Watkins, executive director at the Sanctuary on 8th, said she plans to involve the after-school children as much as possible in raising chickens…and eggs. The coop will hold eight chickens and the children in the after-school program will help clean, feed and gather the eggs.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 2 erect a chicken coop at Sanctuary on 8th Street.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 2 erect a chicken coop at Sanctuary on 8th Street.

“We can use the eggs for breakfast and lunch at the school and snacks after school.  Pickled eggs, egg salad, omelets, scrambled eggs, fried rice…so many good options,” Watkins said. “If we have enough, they will be sent home with the children.”

Watkins plans to enlist help from local hen expert Genora Crain-Orth when the time is right. “We don’t have the chickens yet, but yes, they will be named!” Watkins noted.
By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News
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