The highest achievement for a Boy Scout in America is to become an Eagle Scout. Since the Boy Scouts of America began in 1911, only 4 percent of Scouts have earned this rank. But local resident Wyatt McCloskey Sell is hoping to soon join the elite club.
Wyatt needs to complete an extensive service project that the 17-year-old Rondout Valley High School senior plans, organizes, leads, and manages. And that project, now underway, will help the community – and the Stone Ridge Library.
Wyatt will be rebuilding the wooden arch at the main entrance to the library’s 1798 stone building. The arch covers a bluestone walkway and is surrounded by a lovely flower garden. The last arch had to be taken down last fall when the wood posts deteriorated.
“Ever since I was young, I visited the library,” said Wyatt, who started as a Cub Scout when he was in the second grade. “It is a wonderful place and it does lots for the community. I called them up and asked them what they needed and they needed a new arbor, so I did that.”
The Library has been rejuvenated in the past ten years, renovating its decaying buildings and turning itself into one of the jewels of Main Street in downtown Stone Ridge. Much of the renovation has been supported by community donations and volunteers. In a normal year more than 50,000 people visit the Library.
“Wyatt’s work, to build this red-cedar archway, will enhance our entrance and our welcome,” said Library Board of Trustees president Susanne Warren. “It is community members like Wyatt who make us more and more able to serve our patrons.”
Wyatt has been a Scout his whole life, but “the Eagle project is a chance for a scout to demonstrate the leadership skills he has learned and give back to the community.” However, Wyatt will need help. While he and others will plan and build the arbor, part of his responsibility is to raise some of the funding for the construction. Wyatt will need to raise about $1,500, with the remainder of about $2,000 coming from the Library.
“Community service is amazing,” Wyatt observes. “It really helps to connect with new people and see what you can do for the places you love so much.” Wyatt acknowledges that projects like this also help with college applications and jobs, “because anyone can just look at grades and assume that they are a good fit but community service means that you have the heart and positive influence to make a difference.”
He added, “I have worked through project selection, getting approval from the library board, and on the design. Now the challenging part is fundraising and organizing people to help.”
If you can help Wyatt and the Library, please make a contribution by check to Stone Ridge Library, P.O. Box 188, Stone Ridge, NY 12484. Wyatt expects to start the project in late April and be completed before the end of June.