CAMP LESTER, Okinawa — A future Eagle landed in a Stork’s Nest recently and lent a hand to spruce it up.
Matt Norwood, a 15-year-old Boy Scout from Troop 102 on Okinawa, managed the interior-painting work on one of the Stork’s Nest units as his Eagle Scout project. The Stork’s Nest features a pair of four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes that house high-risk, pregnant women and parents with children in the Naval Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The project evolved from a discussion Anne Norwood, Matt’s mother, had with Cricket Claeys, the Stork’s Nest manager.
“My mom asked her if she had anything coming up that could be used for an Eagle project, and she did,” said Matt. “We found out two weeks ago, and we only had a small window to do this. There’s usually a waiting list for this place, but we were lucky that it was empty.”
Norwood completed his project with the help of fellow scouts and adults involved with the program. In all, 30 people volunteered, and he received supplies from Friends of the Stork’s Nest, the group that oversees the houses.
They provided brushes, rollers and pans, along with 11 gallons of paint. His team needed two days and 360 man-hours to complete the job.
“The last time we [painted], we couldn’t find any volunteers and it took us two weeks,” said Claeys. “Having him here to do this was great. The cottage hasn’t been empty in two years, and the timing was just right.”
Norwood was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get the job done.
“I was a little nervous,” he said. “But the troop gave a ton of support, both the older and younger scouts.”
His mother was there to help her son, but she let him run the show.
“It’s hard as a parent not to run the project for him … not to get too involved,” she said. “But he did a good job getting all the kids organized and running it proficiently — especially by pulling it together in just two weeks.”
Matt’s 17-year-old brother, Ryan, already an Eagle Scout, was also there to pitch in. He earned his rank by fixing up a bridge and marking a trail in the Chesapeake Arboretum in Virginia.
“I think my project was tougher, but I had eight months to get mine together,” he said.
To reach the rank of Eagle, a Boy Scout must complete 21 merit badges and plan, organize and direct a project of significant community value that’s been approved by the unit leader, committee and council, or district advancement committee.
He must then write a report on the project and submit an Eagle Rank Application to the unit advancement person or Eagle Advisor. The last step is to arrange a review board after the application is signed. All this must be done before the scout turns 18.
Norwood plans to become an Eagle Scout around Christmas. He said he has one more merit badge to earn, and then it’s all up to his parents to arrange the ceremony.