Eagle Scout Candidate Improves State Park

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-03 19:22:58-04

Saturday, a Papillion teen worked to become an Eagle Scout, the highest honor in the Boy Scouts, and helped the Platte River State Park in the process.


"You can't get anything done just sitting around,” advised Michael Leonard, Eagle Scout candidate from Troop 359 out of St. Columbkille in Papillion.


Saturday and Sunday, Michael was hard at work on his community service project - the last step to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.


"Just refurbishing a heavily used and popular trail at Platte River State Park. Plan to put almost 100,000 lbs. of rock along the whole length of it,” explained Michael.


He started planning the project in September after getting approval from the Scoutmaster Board of Review.


"They thought it was the most memorable, the most useful one they've seen in a long time," said Michael proudly.


He had to raise the funds and gather the tools and materials himself.


"He's gotta show that he's learned how to become a leader and can manage a project.  No adults are supposed to help him,” explained Eric Strabala, Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 359.


At the end of the project, Michael and his friends resurfaced almost 1200 ft. of trail in the park.


The trail leads to a popular waterfall.  Right now, mud and erosion make it difficult to walk.


Michael's family and fellow scouts are strategically placing timbers and paving the path with gravel under Michael's supervision.


"If you keep 'em in line they're hard workers,” said supervisor Michael.


When all is said and done, Michael will be a part of the small percentage of scouts that reach the rank of Eagle Scout.


"If he would join the military, it gets him a leg up. When he goes to apply for jobs, it's definitely a huge resume booster," explained his father, also named Michael Leonard.


"It's something that you can wear proudly and show that you earned it because there's no easy way to get it,” said Michael.


Michael is also working on his last merit badge for personal management.  He hopes to be awarded the rank of Eagle Scout this October.