Fairfielder Gordon Crean flies high as an Eagle Scout
A member of Boy Scout Troop 10, Crean has attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting. Two Saturdays ago, he was formally honored at a ceremony that took place at the First Presbyterian Church.
He's been told by someone who hires youth for camps that if it comes down to two resumes -- one with Crean's accomplishment and one without -- Crean is going to get the call for the open position. Crean never thought that far ahead when he became a Boy Scout. He was just having fun and gaining knowledge along the way. The first badge he earned after becoming a Boy Scout was tenderfoot. There were four more ranks he had to earn before the application for Eagle Scout.
To earn Scouting's highest award, Gordon had to earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, serve as a leader in his troop and complete a major community service project.
The project Gordon chose benefited The Animal Center, a non-profit animal welfare charity based in Newtown. While many Scouts often do their service projects in woodsy area -- improving trails, for example -- Gordon didn't want to do the same type of thing.
"I wanted to give back to the shelter where I got my cat from last year," he said. Knowing The Animal Center needed additional feral cat shelters -- for placement in various areas of town -- Crean ordered 21 feral cat shelters, and with the help of fellow scouts, put them together and painted them camouflage. The shelters, made of Styrofoam, will be used to protect cats with no homes from the harsh winter elements.
Gordon, along with fellow scouts and friends, invested more than 120 hours into planning and constructing these special shelters. In addition to there being a need for additional shelters, Gordon said some of the older shelters put out there in the community were in bad condition. The insides of the new feral cat shelters were lined on the inside with contact paper to prevent the cats from scratching the interior. Each shelter can accommodate approximately three cats. Past shelters have been weighed down with bricks atop them but in Gordon's case, family friend Chris Russo donated tiles that could be used to weigh down the shelters instead of bricks.
Though the exact whereabouts of all the feral cat shelters cannot be printed in this article, Gordon said they are placed where feral cats might be found, such as by the beach or by office buildings.
Gordon went from a basic Scout to an Eagle Scout in just under five years, all while also dealing with classes, homework, babysitting, walking people's dogs, and running cross country and track the past two years.
"I was able to balance it out," said Crean.
Crean, like many in Boy Scout Troop 10, became CPR-certified. If something were to happen to a family member (his parents' house will host 24 people on Thanksgiving), he can administer emergency breathing before the arrival of medical personnel. Crean said it's a good feeling to know he can help save a life if the situation arose.
He has attended a Scout meeting every week for nearly five years and has averaged a camping trip at least once a month. The Scouts are taught to "Leave No Trace," to respect the environment just as much as they would an elder.
Crean said his favorite trip out of the more than 50 he and the Scouts was time spent at a property in Deer Lake that has a log cabin.
He admits staying in a log cabin is cheating a bit -- when it comes to a camping trip -- but he liked the beds and the heated building. Outside of the comfort of the log cabin, Crean liked the ice fishing he did.
Though he's only 15, Crean is a mentor and a role model to the younger Scouts in Troop 10 and while there's no stipulation that says he must remain in the troop now that he's earned the rank of Eagle Scout, he plans to stay on for some time and continue to give back.
"I'm pretty connected with my troop," he said.
Earlier this month, he helped a younger class of boys, the Webelos (the oldest group of Cub Scouts) earn three different activity badges. One of them was the handyman badge and Crean demonstrated basic bicycle maintenance as well as showed the Cub Scouts how to make a stool.
"It's definitely a good feeling when you're teaching someone else how to do something," he said.
Only three to five percent of Boy Scouts attain the rank of Eagle Scout. Crean knows it's a big accomplishment and apparently so does his family.
"It definitely meant a lot to me that they took the time to come out and see me," said Crean.