COLERIDGE - When 17-year-old Justin Kinkaid chose his Eagle Scout project, he felt a combination of both excitement and apprehension. He felt similar but more nervous when he proposed the project to the district board in March. But finally, he was able to shake the nerves when he broke ground on the rebuilding of the playground at Tractor Park on May 30, 2018, in Coleridge.
Kinkaid’s Eagle Scout project was to tear down the former playground on the west side of Coleridge’s Community Building and create a new structure. According to Kinkaid, the main purpose was the safety.
“This park is old and so the wood is starting to rot,” he said. “We don’t want a kid to be playing on it and it to collapse.”
Kinkaid worked with his father Shane Kinkaid, Maintenance superintendent Dennis Naslund and members and parents of Boy Scout Troop 208, maintenance superintendent Dennis Naslund and Cary Zieg of CZ Masonry to complete this project. Troop 208 is based out of Coleridge but has members from all over Northeast Nebraska.
In order to begin working on an Eagle Scout project the scout must have earned 21 merit badges, 13 of those are Eagle Scout merit badges. Once those are earned, the scout can begin to search for a project that aids a nonprofit organization in some way. According to Gene Ohlrich, in some cases the scouts find projects and in others, like Kinkaid’s, the projects find the scouts.
“[Justin’s project] was brought to us by the city of Coleridge,” Ohlrich said. “With our troop being from the town, we like to support it as much as possible.”
The project is meant to create a sense of leadership in the scout, Ohlrich said. It’s also about giving back to the community, finding responsibility and, well, having fun.
“It is mostly the paper work that is the hard part,” Kinkaid said. “Actually doing it is the better part of it. It’s the fun part of actually going through with all the planning.”
Now that the structural part of the playground is complete as of June 2, all that’s left is to fill the cement, level it out and pour the sand in. Once these last steps are completed the playground will be open to the public, Kinkaid said. He said he is relaxed now that most of the project is done and sees the importance of this project in a small town.
“Everyone uses this,” he said. “It’s important to help out one another and do something like this to rebuild.”
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