Building Hope: Sophomore Works Towards Becoming Eagle Scout
Ashley Patterson, Contributor
Blake Reinhart, a sophomore at STEM Academy, spends his free time working diligently on building a very special project. Motivated to earn his Eagle Scout rank in his local Boy Scout troop, Reinhart has been crafting an interesting playhouse that features toys and interactive walls and will be installed at Oak Meadow Elementary School. He builds with the intention to unite kids of all abilities and hopes to show them that they can do anything when they work together.
Reinhart is a proud member and leader of Troop 650; a Boy Scout troop at Concordia Lutheran Church. He is an SPL, Senior Patrol Leader, and is tasked with planning schedules and leading the troop. “Boy Scouts has given me more confidence and leadership; the project has helped me become more creative,” he says.
Reinhart, who is hearing impaired, wanted to give hope to children in the same situation as him. “I first heard about Oak Meadow Elementary School through a Hearing Aid Conference. One of the participants talked about the school and how they wanted to help the hearing impaired and the non-hearing impaired kids interact with each other,” he said. He quickly saw an opportunity to lend a helping hand.
Starting back in November, he spent many weeks planning and trying to get approval from the Eagle Board to start his project. “It took months to get the approval,” said Reinhart, “I had to start everything from scratch and comply with Boy Scout regulations.”
Once he obtained the approval, Reinhart quickly organized a fundraiser for his project. He sent out a fundraising letter to friends and family and received over $5,500 for his project. “I am hoping to use all of it. Any extra money goes to Oak Meadow,” he said. Reinhart hopes the project will be completed by the end of the year. “It would be nice to see all the kids go back to having a new addition to the playground,” he said.
Reinhart has spent many months building, learning, inspiring, and persevering to obtain his final goal of a finished playhouse and becoming an Eagle Scout. Although finding time to work on his project has become a challenge with school, he does not plan on giving up. “Hopefully I want to go back in ten years and still see it standing,” said Reinhart with a smile showing his dedication and love for his project.