Richter Bogust delivers "Coping Kits" to the Exeter Township Junior High School. He's joined by Amy Lutz (left), Executive Director of the Exeter Community Education Foundation; Alex Brown, Principal of ETJH; and Kim Shaw, Counselor.
Exeter Eagle Scouts pose with Exeter Township Senior High Principal Tom Campbell earlier this year. They are (from left): Deacon Hearing, Alex Podaru, Nathan Morgan, Nate Brundage, Emmet Larson, Johnathan Newnham, Sam Orzolek and Jason Boone.
Logan Endy (left) and Richter Bogust both completed their Eagle Scout projects this spring.
Today, 9th grader Richter Bogust began his delivery of student “Coping Kits” to Exeter schools, which will be distributed by school counselors to students in need who are dealing with anxiety or stress. Each kit contains a unique mix of items that are age-specific to help students who are struggling with anxiety, such as journals, pens, colored pencils, coloring books, coloring pages, crayons, Play-Doh, stress balls, fidgets, chocolate, mints, cards of encouragement, motivational stickers, etc. Richter collected and assembled more than 500 kits thanks to community donations and support from the Exeter Community Education Foundation as part of his Eagle Scout project, which is a distinctive and honorable rank earned by less than 5% of Boy Scouts, and represents the highest achievement that Scouts can earn.
Exeter schools and our community are often the lucky beneficiaries of Eagle Scout projects, which can take Scouts up to a year to organize. For his Eagle Scout project, Sam Orzolek, now a senior, created benches for Exeter wrestling last year, and Deacon Hearing, also a senior, helped build an outdoor classroom at Owatin Creek in 2020. Other Eagle Scout projects by current Exeter students include: a food drive by Jason Boone; outdoor decking and wall construction at First Unitarian Universalist Church by Johnathan Newnham; a pet food drive by Emmet Larson; construction of benches at Joanna Furnace by Nate Brundage; restoration of the youth room at Schwarzwald Church by Nathan Morgan; construction of a half-mile trail at Joanna Furnace by Alex Podaru; and most recently, organization of a blood drive by Logan Endy, which he just completed at the end of April.
With the majority of Exeter’s Eagle Scouts on the verge of graduation and the program suffering a more than 40% decline in enrollment from 2019 to 2020 partially due to the pandemic, and partially due to social trends, Exeter’s Eagle Scouts said they hoped that a new generation of students would consider joining the centuries-old organization, which now accepts girls as well as boys. “It taught me skills that I would have never learned otherwise,” said Nathan Morgan. “I loved that Scouts gave me something unique to do,” said Emmet Larson. “I was out learning how to create shelter with no tent and only available materials while my friends were back home playing video games.” Exeter’s Scouts also say that earning the Eagle Scout rank allows them a competitive edge to put on their resume and college applications that makes them stand out to employers and admission officers. It also gave them a built-in network of friends as they grew up together with common interests.
In addition to learning survival and leadership skills, the group said that they appreciated the opportunity to give back and do something meaningful for other students and their communities through their Eagle Scout projects. “I liked that I had a chance to help my community through a project that has a lasting impact,” said Logan, referencing his blood drive and how he hoped it would help save someone’s life. Richter agreed and said, “People have been going through rough times because of the pandemic and mental health among students is not very good right now,” he said. “I hope that these coping kits may be able to help students feel better while being in school.”
To learn more about joining the Boy Scouts, please visit https://beascout.scouting.org.