Double the honor

Scouts from Mint Hill troop recognized in double Eagle Scout ceremony

by Josh Whitener

Allen Wooten (left) and Alex Werts show off the finished product of their Eagle Scout projects: a stone fire pit built for Blair Road UMC, located behind the church fellowship hall. Josh Whitener/MMHW photo

Completing an Eagle Scout project is a huge feat for any Boy Scout, but working on a large-scale joint project with your best friend – now, that’s a rare treat.

On Saturday, June 30, the Boy Scouts of America Troop 114 honored Alex Werts and Allen Wooten in a rare double Eagle Scout ceremony at Blair Road United Methodist Church in Mint Hill, where the troop regularly meets. Alex and Allen, both 18, recently worked together to build a stone fire pit behind the church.

Although they spent seven years attending rival schools – Alex is a recent Butler High School grad and Allen represents the Class of 2012 at Independence High – both boys said their friendship has endured ever since they met in the second grade. The two achieved Scout rank in April 2005 and have supported and encouraged each other all the way to the top.

When it was time to venture forth on earning their Eagle Scout merit – the highest rank a Scout can achieve – both boys decided to work together to bring something special to Blair Road UMC. After checking with the church to see what the needs were, Alex and Allen settled on the fire pit as their project.

“We just thought it would be cool to do … like a joint project,” Allen said. “It’s just cool to say you’ve done that – work with someone you’ve been close to for a long time.”

While both Scouts were responsible for the creation of the fire pit, the construction really consisted of two separate projects. Alex was responsible for building the foundation to the fire pit while Allen tackled the task of building the actual pit.

The most challenging part of the project for both boys came before the physical work started. Scouts working on their Eagle projects must submit a detailed proposal to the Scout office outlining the specific goals and technical aspects of the project.

“We had to state every material we’d need, where they were going to come from, how we were going to get the money,” Allen said. “So the hardest part was the planning of where everything, who’s going to be there, schedules for every day.”

After careful review, both boys received the thumbs up to proceed with their projects.

Alex began laying the foundation in early November. For about three weeks, Alex, members of his Scout troop, Scout leaders, friends and family worked diligently to mix mortar, lay stones and make sure the foundation was secure and safe.

Allen began building the fire pit immediately after Alex finished the foundation. Allen led a group of volunteers, both Scouts and non-Scouts, through the task of laying stones, sanding down rough edges, creating places for water to drain and making sure the pit looked nice. In the end, the pit was built as a semicircle of stones and cinderblock with a grill on one side and an open pit on the other.

Four workdays later, at the end of December, the pit was finished. Thanks to local businesses and community members who donated materials and money to the project, the boys received concrete and palettes of stones and only had to fork out about $30 to cover the cost of the mortar.

“It would have cost a lot if they didn’t donate all that to us,” Alex said.

One of the most difficult aspects of actually executing the project, for both Alex and Allen, was fulfilling the role of the overseer. The goal of the Eagle Scout project is not just to give back to the community, but to demonstrate leadership skills as well.

“The biggest thing is you’re finding out where the line is between leadership and friendship,” Allen said. “A lot of it’s trying to balance having friends and having power and not letting your friends walk all over you, but at the same time not being overly controlling like a dictator.”

Alex, a “man of few words,” plans to attend North Carolina State University in the fall to study engineering. Allen, a “man of many words,” plans to major in communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and eventually become a motivational speaker.

They hope the members of Blair Road UMC will enjoy the fire pit for years to come, whether it’s through barbecue dinners, roasting marshmallows to make s’mores or just enjoying a simple campfire. “It’s just cool to say you’ve worked on something like that, that will be enjoyed for a long time,” Allen said.

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