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14-year-old begins Eagle Scout project
As Spencer Stocks sees it, becoming an Eagle Scout marks the end of a journey that began when he was in first grade as a Tiger Scout.
"It means a lot," the 14-year-old said. "I always wanted to be an Eagle Scout. I like scouting and I just want to get to the end, because it's fun."
Stocks took a major step toward his goal over the weekend. With help from a dozen other Boy Scouts from Troop 5, Stocks began his Eagle Project on Sunday, helping to make Princeton Volunteer Fire Station look a little more presentable. As of Monday, the group had put in about 100 man-hours of work, cleaning debris and organizing the garage at the department. The department had volunteers on site to help with the cleanup.
"(The department) liked the idea. I think they are going to do some more repairs that are outside my project," Stocks said.
"There are around 15 volunteers here," said Steve Stocks, Spencer's father, who is one of those 15 volunteers. "As many volunteers as we have, they all have their own things going on. Everybody is busy. Everyone here is volunteers — even the chief. This is really a big help. Compared to what it was, this is a big change."
Scout Master Amy Gerrard said that her troop, including Spencer Stocks, has been extremely dedicated. Gerrard has been with the boys in Troop 5 as an assistant Scout master since many of them were Tiger Scouts — the youngest age group for the Cub Scout program.
"Scouts was pretty dead (for a time)," she said, adding it is tough to draw kids to the Scouts because many boys in the area are so involved in other activities, including sports.
"The three that are Eagle Scouts now are the first in this county in 11 years," Gerrard said.
In 2012, the national average for Boy Scouts who earned the Eagle Scout rank was around 7 percent, according to the organization's website.
"You are lucky to have one kid in the troop 'Eagle out.' We're almost at 100 percent turnover. We are expecting 10 of our Scouts to earn their Eagle ranking here soon. It takes dedication from the parents, and we have some really good parent volunteers that help out," Gerrard said. "They deserve it. Why not help these kids go to college on a scholarship or grant?"