Local Scout works to preserve lives

Isaac Griffes, Troop 777 install new life jacket lending station at Lake Cleawox

(Photo by Mark Brennan/Siuslaw News)

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the largest youth organizations in the U.S. More than 2.4 million members are involved nationally in activities organized by the BSA.

Florence has two active Boy Scout chapters. An individual from one of those, Troop 777, recently completed an important project with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

(Photo by Rob Griffes)

Isaac Griffes, a senior member of Troop 777, is working towards the highest achievement attainable for a BSA member, the rank of Eagle Scout. All Eagle Scout candidates must attain 21 badges from a wide selection of options available to candidates for the rank.

According to scouting.org, BSA’s goal is to “train youth in responsible citizenship, character development and self reliance through participation in outdoor activities and educational programs.”

In order to fulfill the public service aspect of the Eagle Badge requirements, Isaac began working earlier this year with Jessie M. Honeyman State Park Ranger Ryan Warren.

Warren approached Troop 777 with an idea to raise money to buy new life preservers for the swimming area at Lake Cleawox, located within the Honeyman grounds.

According to Isaac’s father, Rob Griffes, Isaac decided to take on the project.

“The park had a need for the station because their boat rental was frequently asked to lend life jackets to swimmers in the swim area. But since the boat rental life jackets were designated for the use of boaters, they could not loan out the jackets. The solution was to install a separate life jacket loaner station,” Rob said.

Warren and Isaac identified three locations for a station, with a desire for two stations at two Woahink Lake and one at the swim area at Cleawox.

To make the project manageable as an Eagle Project, Rob said they decided to focus efforts on a single station at Cleawox, which sees heavier use by park users than the other two sites.

Isaac worked with Warren to create several design concepts before settling on the current simple, yet effective design. He was involved in the work from concept to installation.

Isaac also organized and led a group of Scouts through the three phases of the installation.

The first phase was site preparation as the troop mixed and poured concrete and installed brackets.

The second phase involved installing the uprights, cross pieces and hooks.

The final phase was installing two signs on the “Life Jacket Loaner Station,” one depicting proper use, and both featuring English and Spanish.

The work was completed on Sept. 24.

Troop 777 Commissioner Frank Dietz said, “Isaac’s project is not only important for his Eagle Scout badge but also for the community. His project was designed specifically for Honeyman in order to directly provide a service for the community.”

Dietz has been involved with the BSA for more than two decades and feels the training received by Scouts is more important now than ever, particularly in the light of recent natural disasters across the country.

“Scouting teaches young men to become productive citizens,” Dietz said. “It gives them values, shows them what is important and teaches them respect for their surroundings.

“Most importantly, it teaches youth to be prepared for almost anything. Scouts and scouting parents across the country have a disaster plan, and they are ready to implement it, in case of an emergency.”

Dietz said Eagle Scout candidates must undergo years of work and dedication to achieve that rank. In the process, they make important contributions to their community.

“Scouting provides the best set of values for today’s world. Having the designation of Eagle Scout on your resume is a benefit for your whole life, and Isaac is a good example of the dedication and determination needed to succeed, not only in Scouting, but for the rest of his life,” Dietz said.


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