On a chilly morning at Henricus Historical Park, a group of Boy Scouts from Troop 837 and others gathered to help one of the troop’s members complete his Eagle Scout project.
Mason Foster, a 17-year-old senior at Thomas Dale High School, decided to build a palisade wall in the English section of the park. During a break from coordinating the work last week, Foster said they would put up 20 to 40 feet of the wall that day, depending on how far they could dig the trench.
“We may have to come back another day,” he said, but the workday was the fourth or fifth date he’d planned to do the project. It rained on the original workday, he said, and it rained even more on the rain date. Finally, he said, he just had to pick a day, and though it was cold, last Wednesday was “dry, so we could get some work done.”
One of the adults was trimming the tops of the logs to points to make them look authentic, he said. “Back then, they had the wall around the whole colony” for protection, he said, and the park still uses it for that purpose today.
The trimmed logs would be placed in the trench, which would be filled in with dirt so the logs were stable, he said. Then, they planned to hold up the crossbar, drill through into the logs and peg the crossbar to the logs to keep the wall up, he said.
Foster decided to work with the park after another scout had a good experience working on a project with Henricus, he said. He offered to do a project in the English section, and chose the wall from the list of potential jobs, he said.
“I decided to do the wall because it was something that would be authentic that would last for a good long time,” he said.
Foster’s been in Cub or Boy Scouts since he was in second grade, he said, and “every scout’s goal is to make the Eagle rank.”
“I enjoy going on the campouts and just enjoying the nature,” he said. “After all the schoolwork and the stress of everything, just going out and looking at the beauty of nature is relaxing.”
Julianne Theune, who was on hand last week, said her sons Joey, 13, and Forrest, 10, were scouts and her daughter, Christel, 15, was a member of the troop’s venture crew. She said Joey and Christel had helped on another Eagle Scout project.
“They learn what they’re going to need to do,” Theune said. Seeing how to address glitches that come up during such projects is also valuable, she said, “because nothing works perfectly when you do it.”
In the scouts, she said, children learn respect, independence and life skills, including survival skills.
“I just think it’s a neat thing,” she said, “and I’ve learned a lot being involved.”
Nick Busch, a seventh grader at Matoaca Middle School, and Brandon Sasser, an eighth grader at Elizabeth Davis Middle School, said being in the scouts was a lot of fun and they enjoyed learning the life and survival skills. Sasser, 14, said he’d already helped with two Eagle Scout projects and completed his own.
“For me, it was stressful,” because the location of the project was about two-and-a-half hours away, he said. The landscaping project required about 400 hours of work, he said, and “in the end, it’s really rewarding.”
Busch, 13, said he definitely wanted to make Eagle Scout before he aged out.
Foster said his original plan was to build about 100 feet of the wall, but “if I can’t go all the way, I know it will eventually all get done.” He said he knew another scout who was willing to finish the wall if he couldn’t, he said.