Four Kodiak scouts are poised to receive their eagle badge or gold award — the highest ranks in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
To achieve the award, the scouts had to design and complete service projects. Here’s a look at what their efforts accomplished in Kodiak.
Kristina Emmerson – Quilting for a Cause
Kristina Emmerson wanted to help classmates who were struggling with abusive romantic relationships when she designed her gold award project.
She also wanted to incorporate her interest in quilting.
She managed to do both with Quilting for a Cause, an afterschool program for middle and high school students that simultaneously taught quilting and techniques for building healthy relationships.
To find materials to teach the relationship part of the class, Emmerson worked with Girl Scouts of Anchorage and Angela Bowling at the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center (KWRCC).
Her class filled in some important messages that were never taught in school health class, she said.
“Way back in middle school they just told us that dating is healthy and it helps you see what you want in marriage,” Emmerson said.
One of the most important messages of the class was “independence is a good thing,” she said. “You can be in a relationship, but you have to be your own person.”
Boling said some questionnaires she used in Quilting for a Cause will be useful for KWRCC.
“For a teen to stand in front of her peers and talk about a touchy subject she’s got to be a strong woman,” Bowling said.
Over the winter and spring the class of five to eight students produced 12 quilts, which were donated to KWRCC last month.
Greg D’Elia — New cemetery crosses
Greg D’Elia needed to consult with religious leaders and solicit the help of an anonymous woodworker to complete his eagle project.
His project was to replace the wooden crosses at the cemetery near the borough building on Mill Bay Road. It was coordinated through Kodiak’s Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The cemetery dates back to the initial American presence in Kodiak after the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.
Buried there are some of the first wave of American soldiers who came up from San Francisco to serve in Kodiak. The cemetery was used until 1940 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Rather than replacing the crosses with wood, D’Elia chose Azek, a synthetic material that should stand up better to Kodiak conditions. A community woodworker who asked not to be named built the crosses.
With the help of fellow scouts, D’Elia assembled the crosses and put them in the cemetery. Ian Fulp from the Kodiak City Department of Parks and Recreation donated gravel.
There are 72 Western crosses from American graves and 12 Orthodox crosses from Russian graves in the cemetery.
Earlier this month Father Innocent Dresdow of the Holy Resurrection Church and the Rev. Todd Putney of the Community Baptist Church consecrated the new crosses.
D’Elia said his favorite part of the project was when he walked by the newly refurbished cemetery for the first time.
“I walk down to the library after school and I take the route past the cemetery and usually I don’t look at it,” he said. “But today I stopped and put my elbows on the fence and said, ‘Man, that looks sweet.’ Those crosses are going to last for a long time.”
Now that this project is done, D’Elia said he sees another good opportunity for someone else who wants to do some community service. The nearby Russian Cemetery also has crosses that need replacing.
Shirlie Morin and Anna Engvall — In the dog house
Girl scouts Shirlie Morin and Anna Engvall wanted to do a project for the Kodiak Animal Shelter because they had volunteered there together since they were 5 years old.
From their work they knew that the shelter can use dog houses, but they also knew the shelter already has volunteers willing to donate them.
The problem was people tended to donate Snoopy-style doghouses with pitched roofs, shingles and paint — features that do not work very well in practice.
“Dogs actually chew on the doghouses so it’s not good for them to have shingles and paint” Engvall said. “They like to jump up on top of the roofs, and it’s not exactly very comfortable for them if they’re pitched.”
Both girls have taken AutoCAD classes at Kodiak High School. So instead of building dog houses themselves, Engvall and Morin used their building design experience to make it easier for future volunteers to design functional buildings.
The girls will leave a copy of the blueprints at the animal shelter for future volunteers.
They also organized a community fair for Kodiak animals last month for people to buy animal tags, learn about adopting animals from the shelter and practice making dog houses using the new blueprints. Guests at the community fair made nine dog houses.
Mirror writer Sam Friedman can be reached via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.