Conner Ottinger, a rising senior at Ravenwood High School, earned his Eagle Scout designation on June 22.
While he had completed the hours needed to receive the award months ago, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, like many other events, the award ceremony was postponed.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America. Each recipient’s actions and accomplishments are supposed to elevate the stature of Eagle Scouts in the public eye.
Ottinger has been a Scout since the first grade and is a member of Troop 248 out of Sunset Middle School. His unit leader is Jason Despain.
“I wanted to be involved in Scouts because I love the people in it and the opportunities it gives to everyone involved in the program,” Ottinger said. “A special memory was definitely getting to go to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and hiking to the top of Baldy (one of the taller mountains on the property).”
For his project to earn Eagle Scout, he chose the Center for Living and Learning in Franklin. Ottinger went above expectations by building two benches for the gardens, a picnic table, a worktable and a side table. He said it felt great helping at a place that does so much to help others.
The Center for Living and Learning is a private non-profit residential supportive living facility for housing adults who have severe and persistent mental illnesses. Its purpose is to create a restorative environment for these individuals in a community setting by responding to the total range of their needs.
Derek Axelson, resident manager at the Center for Living and Learning, interacted with Ottinger during the project.
“Conner is a great kid, and I want people to know what he and the Scouts do to serve others in their community,” Axelson said. “He showed tremendous leadership and was proactive to fulfill all the obligations that he said he would complete for the Center.”
Scouts often complete projects at the Center for Living and Learning, like building benches, as a big part of the program is getting exercise. The benches in the garden are particularly useful for residents to sit on when they finish weeding in the morning.
“Since I’ve been here, it’s been enjoyable working with community partners, like Boy Scouts,” Axelson said. “They contribute to the work you do. It’s great to connect with people, especially with COVID-19. We hope we can continue this partnership.”
To learn more about the prestigious Eagle Scout award, visit https://nesa.org/for-eagle-scouts/awards-and-recognition/outstanding-eagle-scout-award.
For more information on the Center for Living and Learning, visit www.centerforlivingandlearning.com.