Scout serves church to earn Eagle rank

June 25, 2013

By Peter Clark

A community will benefit from local high school senior Gunnar Conley choosing to bring a team together to improve the landscape of St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Leading a group of classmates, teammates and fellow scouts, Conley oversaw the installation of a few new features for the recently renovated church. They put in a rock wall around the garden and bordered the new walkway with beams.

Contributed Scout Gunnar Conley works on a beautifcation project at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church to earn his Eagle rank.

Scout Gunnar Conley works on a beautifcation project at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church to earn his Eagle rank.

To earn the highest Scout rank, dedicated youths must create their own projects and deliver proposals to leaders. Conley knew exactly where he wanted to put his efforts.

“I wanted to do something with the church,” he said. “I talked to the landscape manager to see what needed to be done.”

After the recent renovation of the church, he said there were a few things left undone. Conley mentioned a meditation trail and other projects around the perimeter of the Second Avenue Southeast church, but he decided to focus on the garden and the walkway because of the time and help available.

This was the third time a Scout had chosen to work with St. Michael’s as a part of their Eagle Scout project. Conley said that the previous volunteers have steered his desire toward helping the church.

“I kind of got inspirations from other Scouts,” he said, but also included his personal connection to St. Michael’s. “We’ve been going here a long time. It’s cool to finally give back.”

Doug Barrell, the landscape and facilities manager of St. Michael’s, said that he was pleased to work for so long with a Scout like Conley.

“We started talking about this around the first of the year,” Barrell said. “We did a walk-around and looked at some of the options, and we decided that this would be a good project for him.”

He was pleased with how well the whole project worked out and lauded Conley for his leadership.

“I’m really proud of him for planning and especially for recruiting,” he said. “He’s a good kid and I’m very happy to have the help.”

Completion of the project will mark the final piece of Conley’s goal to reach the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouts. In order to prepare, he had to involve the church in his intentions, submit paperwork to Scout leadership and undergo inspection from a board of review that looked back on his whole Scouting experience.

“I’ve been in Scouts forever,” Conley said. “It will be great to finally get this done.”

About 15 people came to support Conley in his project. As the volunteers set to work in groups, he wound his way around them, supervising the quality and giving correction or encouragement when needed.

“I actually had a lot more people turn out than I expected,” he said. “A lot more people than we needed.”

Many of them had joined him in other service projects with the church, like an annual Bible School held in the Skagit Valley. Conley said their experience together had shown him the true value of selfless work and appreciation for the life he lives.

“This has all helped me understand how gifted and blessed we are here in Issaquah,” he said. “It gives us a great view of what we have.”


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