Posts From May, 2016

Mattison Gibson Eagle Scout Project  

Climbing walls at Texas Lions Camp Kerrville, Texas

As a Type 1 Diabetic I had the opportunity to attend the Lions Camp at Kerrville, Texas through the sponsorship of the Baytown Lions Club. The Texas Lions Camp provides an opportunity for young campers to enjoy the benefits of a camp that they may not otherwise be able to attend. The camp has 8 weeks of camping each summer. They have four weeks for disabled campers ranging from blind, hearing impaired, or medical problems such as heart or asthma to missing limbs. The camp also has an autism and a cancer week. 

The last two weeks of camp are dedicated to type 1 diabetics. Dr Ponders from South Texas brings his entire clinic staff for the two weeks. There are about 1400 campers at the camp each summer. While attending camp I saw a need to add to the existing climbing wall that was at the camp. With just one wall only one camper at a time could enjoy trying to climb the wall, which resulted in long lines and not much fun for the campers. 

While attending a sponsor dinner for the camp, the story was told about a camper called  Nay Nay. She was a quadriplegic camper who had been to the camp several years. One year when she arrived at camp she was asked what she was going to do special for that year. Her response was she was just going to sit by the pool since she had done everything else at the camp. I asked her if she had climbed the climbing wall. 
She said, “Look at me, how can I climb a wall?”  Well, she was challenged to at least try. The wall had a counter balance system that helped campers like Nay Nay. Her goal was to get 6’ off the ground, on her first try she made it only 2’ but after a short rest tried again and made it to 6’. She was very excited and stated that next year she would go for the bell at the top. For Nay Nay and the other campers like her, I took on the project of building two additional walls including modifications to the existing wall. 

At the completion of my Eagle Project, the new center wall has the rocks spaced closer than normal to accommodate the handicapped campers.  The right side wall was made tougher for the campers that wanted to try it including the top 4’ angled out for more difficulty. The walls were completed before the next summer and campers were able to spend more time on the walls.  Some who may not have been able to climb a wall before, could now have that opportunity. The new walls were a big hit and will be for many years to come. I am planning on being a counselor at the camp during the summer of 2017 and will enjoy helping young campers climb these walls no matter what the disability might be.  Thank you.

Posted by Shane Burks Friday, May 6, 2016 1:40:00 PM Categories: Scouting Stories

Thomas Jurica  

Adams Eagle Scout Project Award Recipient 2014

Thomas Jurica, the recipient of the Adams Award for 2014, chose to do a very personal project.  Following the loss of his close friend, George Belton, Thomas decided to build a playground as a lasting legacy in his memory.  He and his volunteers constructed St. George Playground at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Houston.

The Eagle Project is a memorial to his close friend and fellow Troop 99 Boy Scout, George Belton.  George was killed in an ATV accident in April 2012, about the time Thomas was starting to plan his project.  Thomas decided to dedicate the project in memory of George and to do it at George’s church - Holy Rosary Catholic Church.  

The original proposal was for a commercial playground would cost $7,000.00.  That was a lot of money for an Eagle project and Thomas had no idea if he would be able to raise that much money.   An organization from Holy Rosary church heard about the proposed playground and pledged $6,000. So, Thomas revised his plan to have professional playground equipment rather than just “Little Tikes.”   

The response to the memorial playground was overwhelmingly-positive.  Thomas collected donations of $12,000 in just a few weeks.  The playground plans were revised again to have an even larger playground with more equipment. Thomas also did fundraising at Holy Rosary, and as the donations continued, the playground continued to be improved and enlarged.  By the end, almost $29,000 was donated and a final playground plan was made.  

The playground was installed over an eight day period with the playground equipment first, by professional installers.   Then Troop 99 began installation of the rest of the playground.  They cleared the area, put in a liner, and a border.

On the last day of the project, the Boy Scouts, Scouters, parents, and friends moved and spread the 80 cubic yards of mulch, using wheelbarrows, shovels, and rakes.  The playground area was 42 feet x 46 feet. In all, 43 Scouts, Scouters, and other volunteers helped with the building of the playground.

A memorial bronze plaque was installed next to the playground.  The playground was dedicated and blessed by the pastor of Holy Rosary, in June of 2013 in a ceremony attended by members of Holy Rosary Church, St Thomas More Church, and Troop 99.   The playground was named St. George Playground – after the Patron saint of Boy Scouts and the patron saint of George Belton.  What started out as a small playground with “Little Tikes” equipment grew into a large playground with professional equipment which covered all of the available space.  From start to finish, the project took over 400 hours.  Thomas gave thanks to God, to all the generous supporters, and his Troop who made the St. George Playground possible.  

Posted by Shane Burks Wednesday, May 4, 2016 12:37:00 PM Categories: Scouting Stories

The story of Henry Palmer Melton 

The following is the story of the first Eagle Scout of the Sam Houston Area Council - H. Palmer (Peg) Melton

Henry Palmer Melton was born in Houston on May 15, 1902.  He joined Troop 11 in the 1915 at the age of 13.  He was described as a manly little fellow of 13 summers, clear-cut features, cheeks that dimple when he smiles and eyes that brimful of life.  Within four months of joining Scouts he made Tenderfoot and finished his Second Class examination on July 17.

After a period of 60 days he told his Scoutmaster, J. Dixie Smith, he was ready to take tests on First Class work.  On September 6 he passed the exam with a grade of 100.  He continued on with work on merit badges and completed swimming, public health, personal health, craftsmanship and art.  He completed all of these in four months and despite his physical handicap.

On February 11, 1915, while on the way to Sunday school, he was hit by a train and his left ankle was so badly crushed that amputation was necessary.  His left foot was amputated above the ankle.  He was fitted with an artificial limb and if you were not told, you would never know it.  In the days before political correctness, he was called by his friends, “Peg”.

In 1916 at the age of 14, Palmer Melton was awarded the first Eagle Scout Award ever given in the Sam Houston Area Council.

In a 1960 article in the Houston Press celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Scouting, Paul Hochuli wrote about his good friend from Scouts.  He said: “Peg was a natural woodsman, a clean living kid, an ideal Scout, and it is fitting that he became the first Eagle Scout in our town.  He was an expert with rifle or shotgun, you couldn’t lose him in woods or prairie.”

He apparently had a great sense of humor as well.  Hochuli shared a story from their youth.  They were playing in a sandlot football game where his team needed to get a new player in the game.  He fell to the ground holding his leg only to have the referee walk up to him and kick him on his artificial leg and say, “Peg, you are holding the wrong leg.” 

As a continuing example of his Scout Spirit, after high school he enrolled at what was then called the Rice Institute, Rice University today.  He played on the Owls baseball team as a pitcher for four years and was the captain of the team in 1923.  He once pitched a double header victory over the Aggies.  He received his degree in 1924.

He enjoyed the outdoors and continued hunting and shooting.  He regularly competed in skeet shooting and won the Texas State Skeet Shooting Championship in 1932 and 1934.  In 1932 he was tied with two other shooters at the end of the competition.  He then hit 50 straight targets to win the event.  He was chosen for the 1938 United States Olympic Skeet Team.  Due to the issues with the Second World War, he never competed.

In 1941 Palmer Melton was named President of the R Association, an organization of Rice Owl athletes who had lettered in their sport.  He was inducted into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame and in 1973 received the Distinguished R Man Award.

After Rice, Palmer Melton married and raised a family.  He had 4 children with his wife.  He became a successful oil jobber (selling oil related products) with a franchise from Bud Adam’s father.  For those of you who don’t know this, Bud Adams was the owner of what was first the Houston Oilers and is today the Tennessee Titans. 

In 1941, Palmer Melton continued his involvement with Scouting when he became the new Scout Commissioner for Troop 10, Pack 10 and Scout Ship No. 10 and was sponsored by one of the city’s oldest churches, Trinity Episcopal Church.

Posted by i7MEDIA Support Tuesday, May 3, 2016 2:03:00 PM Categories: Scouting Stories