Perseverance earns Scout an Eagle badge
Earlier this month McLellan was officially named an Eagle Scout at his "Court of Honor" ceremony in St.
. It is the highest honor
Boy Scouts of America
"It's the biggest thing to get your Eagle," said McLellan, 18, and a life-long city resident.
Eagle Scouts must complete a number of steps, such as passing through the other ranks starting at Tenderfoot, earning 21 or more merit badges and compiling paperwork to the largest step of all: the Eagle Scout project.
The project must be completed before the Scout turns 18 in order to be eligible for Eagle status.
After calling up a number of places trying to find a project to work on, Danbury's Tarrywile Park gave McLellan a list of things they needed done.
McLellan chose the task he liked best.
"I had to build eight picnic tables and deliver them to the park," said McLellan, "and I had to have all of the materials donated and I couldn't pay for anything or accept donations from my family or the troop.
"I liked the sound of it," he added. "I had a good place to build it, I had good people figuring out what should go where."
These were not average picnic tables, however. They were specially made to be handicapped accessible.
"What that means," explained McLellan, "is that the end of the picnic table was a little bit longer by two feet so that you could fit a wheelchair in without hitting the benches."
The materials he used to build the tables were donated by stores in the community and money was donated by local banks.
An Eagle Scout project must last at least 100 hours. McLellan's took 121 to complete, starting on March 10, 2004 and ending on Aug. 22, 2004.
With no experience in carpentry, McLellan relied on help from volunteers consisting of other Scouts from his troop, Troop 24, and their parents.
"It turned out really well," said McLellan.
McLellan, who lives in Danbury with his mother, Ann, attends the University of Maine where he is majoring in public administration with a minor in French.
After his mother enrolled him in Cub Scouts in 1992, McLellan gradually became more involved and wanted to pursue Eagle Scout status.
After earning 22 merit badges, in areas such as first aid and personal management, and completing community service hours by doing tasks like groundskeeping, cleaning St. James Church where their meetings are held, and making sandwiches for Dorothy Day Hospitality House , McLellan was ready for his Eagle project.
"We had a list of some things we were looking to do," said Sandy Moy , executive director of Tarrywile Park.
Many of the tables McLellan built were put in the orchard picnic area, which is one of the few areas of the park that is handicapped accessible.
"We're thrilled to death!" said Moy. "We've had a lot of people say 'thank you'."
Moy explained how difficult it is to find donations lately because everyone seems to be looking for money, but that she admired McLellan for keeping at it.
"We kind of brainstormed," she said. "He persevered and didn't give up."
The day of his Eagle Scout ceremony, June 5, was proclaimed Alan McLellan Day by Gov. Jodi Rell.
He is now the assistant Scoutmaster of his troop, which is led by Scoutmaster Jim Beschle.
For those hoping to reach the rank of Eagle, McLellan believes that determination is the key.
"Definitely stick with it," he said, "because it's definitely worth it."