Zatopek Twins Eagle Project Benefits Catholic Senior Residence

Written By Scott Marshall, Troop 719 Life Scout

In Troop 719, we take pride in Eagle projects because scouts set it up themselves. In order to setup an Eagle Project, you must first become a Life Scout and then decide on what you would like to do that would help your community. An Eagle Project is something that will continue to help that community for a while.

Although Kyle and Ryan both worked at St Joseph’s Residence, each project was separate. Each Scout independently met with the facility, got approval for their project with Troop 719 and then Circle 10 Council, raised funds, gathered materials, recruited volunteers and completed the project.

For his project,  Kyle leveled the garden area, made eight raised beds with toppers, installed and filled beds, put down crushed granite and laid and leveled flagstone pathways. Ryan dug14 fence post holes, made forms for each hole and then reinforced with rebar, mixed and poured concrete, installed and leveled posts, attached cedar fence rails in a lap seam style with a top rail all around, and added hog wire to the fence. During the COVID-19 pandemic most of the residents were not able to go outside, visit family or see anyone. This was a nice addition to this community to help keep the residents happy.

This Eagle Project occurred over several weekends. Ryan Zatopek (left) and Kyle Zatopek half way through the Eagle Project.
Part of the Eagle Project process is to enlist the help of fellow Scouts. Here, Ryan instructs some Scouts on the finer points of making a frame before pouring concrete.

I was able to ask the Zatopek brothers how the Eagle Project went for them. The brothers said the project itself was pretty easy but setting up the project was hard and time consuming. It takes a couple months before you actually get to do the project. When you actually start the project, the Zatopek’s said, there can be some underlying issues that you have not thought about. It’s all about being able to adjust and maneuver around the issues which is a fun challenge. They went on to say that they would not have done a lot differently. Kyle and Ryan said they would probably have gotten the project done faster but they were really happy it was completed and the project turned out great. Also, the residents will continue to enjoy it.

Before Kyle and Ryan started their Eagle Project, the area was just part of a grass field.

At the end of their Eagle Project, Ryan and Kyle transformed the space into an area that will bring a lot of joy to the residents.

Scouts can being thinking about an Eagle Project at any age but have to be a Life Scout before they can actively work on it. I also asked the brothers if they had any pointers on the process for younger scouts. The Zatopeks suggested having the proposal done as quickly as possible and getting everything approved so that you can start applying for fundraisers and donations from corporations. Another pointer is to ask all your friends and fellow scouts if they will be free the day you would like to work on the project so things can move faster and smoother. Thanks to the support of our Troop we were able to get things done super fast with lots of help. Other than that just remember that it’s your project and have fun working on it as well as being able to learn from it.

Scott Marshall (far right), the author of the article, with Kyle, Ryan and Sr. Carolina Botero, one of the Bethlemite Sisters that run St. Joseph’s Residence.
Just a few of the scouts and adults that showed up one of the days to help Kyle.

About Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall has been a member of Troop 719 since becoming a Boy Scout in 2017. He started as a Cub Scout in first grade. From fishing to camping, a love of nature has always been part of Scott’s life. Being involved in Troop 719, has given Scott plenty of adventures, such as summer camp at Possum Kingdom Lake, canoeing a river in Canada, sleeping at the NASA Space Center, visiting a haunted retired Navel Ship. Most recently, Scott went scuba diving in Sea Base located off the Florida Keys. Scott is looking to complete his Eagle Project in the Spring and obtain the rank of Eagle Scout soon after. Scott’s advice to younger scouts, “enjoy your scouting career as I have enjoyed mine with many more adventure to come.”

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