2012-11-22 / Living

Eighth grader at Chatfield School goes for Eagle Scout honor

810-452-2609 • jhunsanger@mihomepaper.com

Kyle Beatley Kyle Beatley LAPEER — Just in time for Christmas, Chatfield School eighth grade student Kyle Beatley may be receiving a gift that has been a few years in the making. Beatley, 14, of Columbiaville, is waiting to receive his Eagle Scout badge.

A member of the Boy Scouts Troop 214 of Deerfield Township, Beatley has been in Scouting since he joined the Cub Scouts in first grade. Three years ago he became a Boy Scout, and he said he knew right away that he wanted to work all the way up to Eagle Scout, the highest rank possible for Scouts.

Already earning 25 merit badges and climbing, Beatley needed to complete a large-scale service project in order to earn his Eagle Scout badge. He wanted to do something for the community as a whole, and he found the perfect opportunity right at his school.

Chatfield School, with the help of Peter McCreedy, already has a large garden on its campus which is used by both students and the community. However, Beatley saw that it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, for anyone in a wheelchair to access those gardens. Thus, in April, he approached school co-director Matt Young about building handicap accessible gardens at the school.

Young said he very happy to hear the idea and immediately gave Beatley the go-ahead to conduct the project.

It took Beatley several months to prepare all the planning, pool resources from volunteers and local businesses, and then finally construct the gardens which are now in place in front of the Willows building at Chatfield.

Standing on a bed of cement, two wooden garden plots stand two feet off the ground filled with top soil and dirt perfect for growing vegetables. Beatley said he had to research the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for wheelchair accessibility to make sure the gardens were the perfect size and dimensions for anyone in a wheelchair to use.

Beatley was able to get several volunteers involved in the project to help him, including his fellow Boy Scouts, students from Chatfield and Lapeer West High School, along with Church’s Lumber and Home Depot. Beatley also asked the Lapeer County Community Foundation for a grant of $1,500 to help fund the gardens. That grant was approved last week, said Beatley.

With the handicap accessible gardens now finished, they are open to the public to use. Young said he hopes the community will take advantage of those gardens, including both individuals and local groups when spring comes.

In the meantime, Beatley is waiting for confirmation on getting his Eagle Scout badge and he hopes to get it by the end of the year — which will be just in time for Christmas.

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