Samantha Meyer, 18, is working to earn the highest rank in Scouts BSA: Eagle. To complete the process, she needs to finish her difficult community service project.
As of February 1, 2019, Boy Scouts of America changed to Scouts BSA and started allowing female participants. Meyer was raised in the scouting environment and her grandfather, father, and brother all became Eagle Scouts.
An Urbana resident, she is a graduate of the Global Impact STEM Academy, Springfield, and is taking online courses from Ohio University.
Meyer explained how surprised she was to learn that she could join the scouting program.
“I’ve always been in this environment, but that was something that wasn’t really expected,” she said. “My whole life, I’ve grown up going to things with my dad and my brother and I’ve lived it my whole life and here I am, given the opportunity to join and I was very shocked when I first heard about it and very excited too.”
Meyer expressed her gratitude to have the chance to join Scouts BSA. “They gave an extension because I joined when I was almost 17 and I was lucky that they were willing to do that and I was given this chance.”
Meyer said the regular cutoff age to become an Eagle Scout is 18. She was given an extension date of February 1, 2021 to get her project completed. Before becoming an Eagle Scout, she had to complete the following Scout BSA accomplishments: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life.
Meyer chose a project that will help the Champaign Family YMCA and youths, and she’s seeking support from investors. Her brother, Mikeal Meyer, did his Eagle Scout project at the YMCA’s 80-acre Camp Shiffer. Samantha contacted the YMCA in search of new project ideas.
When she contacted the YMCA, they told her they’ve been wanting a climbing wall at Camp Shiffer. She dedicated many hours to contemplate whether she could complete this task. “We started out by figuring if this was something we could actually do,” she said. “It’s going to take a little bit more time and effort than some of the Eagle Scout projects done before, but that’s something that we were wanting to do.”
Bob Pullins, primary YMCA Building and Grounds director, appreciates Meyer’s determination. “I’ve enjoyed working with each Eagle Scout candidate, including Sam Meyer. Sam’s transverse climbing wall (will) be a wonderful addition to our Camp Shiffer infrastructure, and I know that the summer camp kids will love it.”
Meyer started building the horizontal climbing wall in September. Pioneer Electric donated utility poles to be used as supports for the wall. The Ultra-Met Company and Bundy Baking Solutions have donated toward Meyer’s service project as well. Meyer needs more funding and supplies to complete the project with a $4,000 budget. With the cost of hardware, her project cost is adding up quickly. “Getting materials, so far, has been the hardest part, especially since this is a bigger project and it does cost a lot of money.”
Meyer is happy to give back to her community while she takes this next step to become an Eagle Scout. “Whether you know it or not, your community does help you and shape you in ways that you may not even know,” she said. “Doing service here and there is a way you can give back to your community and it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to help give back to the community that has helped you. I’ve talked with people in the community and everybody has been so awesome with helping out.”
Champaign Family YMCA CEO Paul Waldsmith expressed the importance of supporting local scouting troops. “The YMCA and BSA are committed to serving youth in communities throughout the U.S. and I’m pleased that the Champaign Family YMCA has an active partnership with local scouting troops. Since 2006, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing more than 30 Eagle Scout projects completed on YMCA properties where I’ve served as director. The values that both the BSA and the YMCA instill in youth serve them well over the course of their lives, and I am very appreciative of the volunteers of both organizations for their commitment ensuring that youth develop in a healthy and holistic manner.”
“I’ve had help from a lot of people,” Meyer said. Throughout this whole process, I’ve had two main people: Of course, my mom (Janice Meyer) and Megan Stanforth (advisor).”
To support Samantha Meyer’s quest, email: [email protected]
Reach Anna Gaertner at [email protected]