Dakota Madanat, an incoming senior at Milford High School armed with a great sense of humor, dedication, and a wonderful zest for life has been scouting with the Boy Scouts of America for the past nine years, after beginning his career in the fourth grade.
“I always really wanted to be a Scout because scouting holds a lot of life values that I agree with, like honesty, loyalty, and respecting nature. But as I continued to advance further and further, I started to see the Eagle Scout level within my reach. After making Life Scout, I realized that the Eagle is what I have been building towards and working towards all this time.”
The highest rank in the Boy Scouts, the Eagle Scout badge made its first appearance when it was awarded to Arthur Eldred just a year after the organization began in 1911. In order to obtain it, scouts must carry a minimum of twenty one merit badges, have been a Life Scout for six months, and display both Scout Spirit and leadership within their troop. It is after this that the scout may begin planning their Eagle Scout project.
“About February of this year, I started conversations with Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center regarding the children’s garden. I would say that this has been in the works for about 4 months.” said Dakota.
The goal of Dakota’s project was to refurbish the garden area at Morris Early Childhood Center. Dakota and his group of boy scouts, family, and friends started out by removing the gravel and tarp underneath to place soil and plant grass seed. They also amended the soil in the raised-bed gardens to plant flowers and pumpkins and placed stepping stones and benches that Dakota made with the help of Bob Reif. This project was carried out to ensure that the children have a beautiful and safe area to learn about gardening, its benefits and ultimate importance.
“Gardening is has been proven to benefit children in many ways.” said Dakota. “It builds children’s academic, social, and life skills. Not to mention the stress management just digging in dirt and the self-esteem rewards of watching something that you planted grow. I also hope that by growing fruits and vegetables, more children are exposed to a heather eating lifestyle. I think this garden and gardens like it are an invaluable teaching tool for young children.”
After four months of hard work Dakota is finally pleased with the garden that will now stand for future generations of Milford students to enjoy.
“At first this project was a little stressful to me because I just wanted everything to be perfect. When it was all finished and I looked at it, I have to stay I really felt accomplished. I felt I had actually done something good that will benefit people, maybe for their lifetime. Who knows? There may be future farmers out there. The best part of working on this project was to see the project grow and come together.” said the soon-to-be Eagle Scout, Dakota Madanat.