Four Darien Scouts attained Eagle Scout status.
On June 7, Troop 35 conducted an Eagle Court of Honor at the Andrew Shaw Memorial Scout Cabin to celebrate new Eagle Scouts Nicholas Pennington Cohen, Arthur Fleming Doelp, Alexander Joseph Rayhill and Jacob David Rucquoi.
They join the 6 percent of Boy Scouts nationwide who attain Scouting's highest honor.
The Eagle rank in Scouting requires demonstrated leadership in the troop, a minimum of 21 merit badges and the completion of a community service project that benefits an organization outside of Boy Scouts.
Over the years, Eagle Scouts have dedicated thousands of community service hours and made lasting contributions to the Darien community. The recent accomplishments add to the more than 200 Eagle projects in Darien alone since 1928.
For more than a year, Cohen worked closely with the Darien Police Department as well as the Department of Public Works to plan and execute replacement of the bike racks at four locations at the Darien and Noroton Heights train stations. The new racks are designed to promote double locking, a much safer way of securing bikes, and the intent is to prevent theft and encourage community members to bike; thus promoting good health, reducing traffic and Darien's carbon footprint.
He spent months on research and presented to and gained approval from the Police Department, the town and the state. He then led a group of Scouts, parents and friends to complete the overhaul of the racks, including the relocation of potentially concealing landscape, and filming an educational video showing proper locking techniques. The project was completed in October 2013 and the new racks were in use within hours of installation.
The objective of Doelp's service project in May 2013 was to improve the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the outdoor garden area surrounding the Darien Arts Center's theater entrance that leases space from the Darien Town Hall.
Doelp led a team of more than 40 volunteers during two days to completely strip, regrade and replant a 25-by-50-foot garden and install mulch pathways. He sought approval from the Town of Darien and his sponsor, the Darien Arts Center, and researched and acquired shade-tolerant plant donations as well as tree-trimming services, trucking and equipment loans. He arranged for six months of follow-up care until the garden was established.
Doelp graduated from Greens Farms Academy and passed his Eagle Board of Review July 15, 2013.
Rayhill's project in May 2012 aimed to build a library for Part of the Solution, a Bronx soup kitchen and community center. In the midst of a multimillion-dollar expansion project, the one need that POTS could not physically fit in the new facility was a reading room or library.
Rayhill and his team of Scouts addressed the need by building a "rolling library" consisting of bookshelves on wheels that could be placed throughout the facility. With help from his fellow Scouts, the resources of the Darien High School wood shop and the advice of expert carpenters, Rayhill saw his project through from precise design to final product and delivery. Months later, when the book supply ran low, he collected books from local organizations and his team assisted in sorting and packaging the books for delivery.
Rayhill graduated in June from Darien High School and passed his Eagle Board of Review on Oct. 3.
Rucquoi's service project, which was started in April 2013, was an initiative to increase the population of insect-consuming birds that are in rapid decline in the Northeast, especially targeting blue birds, an attractive song bird with a voracious appetite for low-flying insects.
Working with Wild Birds Unlimited, a Darien store that is dedicated to supporting the local bird population, the Connecticut Audubon Society and the state Department of Environmental Protection, Rucquoi worked through the winter and spring of 2013 on the construction, deployment and the evaluation of 26 birdhouses. The houses were placed at three country clubs, several Darien Land Trust sites, Spring Grove Cemetery and two private residences. By the end of the summer, at least 21 of the houses contained nests of a variety of species, including bluebirds.
Ruquoi graduated from Darien High School in June and passed his Eagle Board of Review on Feb. 4.