PORT DEPOSIT — It’s not easy to become an Eagle Scout, and the leadership and character building skills young scouts learn will last them a lifetime.

Rising Sun High School senior Jacob Ashley knows all too well that the final Eagle Scout project can be a doozy.

Last Saturday, the teenager coordinated, facilitated and spearheaded a his Eagle Scout project — the installation of a new playground at Hopewell United Methodist Church in Port Deposit.

Ashley, who is confirmed to enter the U.S. Army after graduation in June, has been a cub scout since first grade with BSA Troop #143 out of Port Deposit.

While the youth has relied on skills he has cultivated, his mother, April Ashley, said that scouting is a family affair. She is the treasurer of his troop, which is currently small at about eight children.

“I think Scouts has built confidence in him and leadership skills,” said April Ashley.

She said that scouts can help any child with socialization skills in general, and that she’s been impressed with the amount her son has traveled.

“He’s done quite a bit of traveling, all with Scouts,” she said. “He’s been to Sea Base in Florida Keys and he’s been to Canada. Has been to Indiana and he’s a member of Order of the Arrow.”

Order of the Arrow is a selective organization within Boy Scouts of America. Members are nominated by their troops.

Although Ashley has done the hard work of scouting, he has also made lifelong friends. April credited his first scoutmaster, Mr. Cook, and his current scoutmaster Christopher Boulden with working with her son and helping mold him into the Eagle Scout he has become.

For his project, which was staged last Saturday, Ashley had to tear down the previous wooden playground at the church. He also coordinated moving the installation of the new playground closer to the church’s pavilion, and the purchasing of the new equipment through Good’s Structures.

“The scout has to run the project, to be the leader,” said April. “Almost like a foreman on the job. He had to pick who was doing what, when and why. He was running his own job site.”

People from Good’s came out in support of Ashley, as did volunteers he coordinated to install the new equipment.

Congratulations on your Eagle Scout project, Jacob! Your community is proud of you!

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