The city of Sultan honored a very young volunteer last week at city hall.
Woodinville resident 13-year-old Bryce Powell chose the city of Sultan to be the recipient of a volunteer project he wanted to perform in order to obtain his Eagle Scout status.
The Eagle Scout rank is the highest advancement rank that one can achieve within the Boy Scouts, and a scout-developed service project is a part of the fulfillment criteria. To earn his rank, Powell refurbished and reinstalled the city’s informational kiosk which now stands on the corner of 4th and Main Street, in front of city hall.
Renovating the kiosk was not originally Powell’s intention. He approached the city in March with his vision of constructing a park bench to be situated at a strategic location of the city’s choice.
“Bryce wanted to build a park bench for the city of Sultan, which was admirable,” explained Donna Murphy, Sultan’s volunteer coordinator, to city council. “But then, we remembered that we had another project that was a lot bigger than a park bench.”
That project was the restoration of the city’s heavily damaged, 13-year-old kiosk, which was being stored at the city’s storage shop.
Standing by the kiosk with his son before the council meeting on Thursday, Bryce’s father, Rick Powell, explained that the city left it up to Bryce, giving him the option of completing either task. After seeing the condition of the kiosk, Bryce Powell went home to think about it, carefully considering the two projects.
To him, it seemed as though they wanted the kiosk more than the park bench, which was key in helping him make his decision.
He decided to accept the challenge.
Following Eagle Scout project requirements, Powell essentially became a project manager as he planned out each phase of the process. Key aspects of any Eagle Scout service project include developing a detailed plan, demonstrating the ability to delegate and show leadership, being safety conscious and organizing the entire project from start to finish.
Powell’s efforts included cleaning up the kiosk windows; obtaining and installing brand new, heavy duty corkboard; refurbishing the metal window frames; building a brand new window frame and completing the third side of what was formerly a two-sided kiosk; obtaining new window for the third side; installing and rekeying the kiosk locks; bolting the entire framework down into the concrete and performing on-site cleanup.
Powell also organized all aspects of situating the kiosk including planning the exact location, as well as assisting the city with the permit process and transporting the large-framed structure which he had thoroughly cleaned and waxed.
Powell obtained his materials through donations, and was assisted by his grandfather and his father during certain aspects of the installation. His father, who is his scout leader, also served as his Eagle Scout project coach, an important and required element to the project.
Powell supervised and directed several youth who assisted throughout the project. He invested over 150 hours performing his service, completing the kiosk in about one month.
Powell is well below the average age of most Eagle rank achievers, which in 2012 was 17 years old, as reported by the Boy Scouts of America.
When asked what inspired him to want to become an Eagle Scout at such a young age, Powell was not at all abashed about admitting that he was, in part, motivated by good old-fashioned competitive spirit.
“I had to beat my brother,” said Powell cheerfully.
Powell’s brother became an Eagle Scout when he was just two months shy of being 14 years old. Powell earned his Eagle rank at just 13 years and seven months.
Although the project came together quite well in the end, it got off to a rather bumpy start. Powell had a difficult time in locating an agency that was willing to support his Eagle project, and struck out several times before approaching the city of Sultan with his idea.
The city of Redmond had a long wait list for Eagle projects, and Snohomish County Parks had a timeline policy surrounding Eagle projects which conflicted with Powell’s goal of having his service complete by the National Boy Scout Jamboree which was held at the end of July.
They explored other options and made other contacts, continuing to have difficulty in locating the support which was necessary to carry the project forward.
“We kind of struggled there for a little bit, we weren’t getting much response,” said Powell’s father. “It was kind of a bummer.”
And then they approached the city of Sultan. Powell’s father said that Sultan was extremely responsive and supportive, and members of city staff were eager to be involved in his son’s work.
“The Sultan city staff is one of the best that I’ve seen,” said Rick Powell.
Bryce Powell was praised for his work by Mayor Carolyn Eslick and each member of city council, accepting a certificate of honor.
“I asked many government agencies about doing an Eagle project and the city of Sultan was the only one that responded in a timely manner,” Powell explained to city council. “I would like to thank Donna Murphy for advising on my project.”
Powell then requested a special round of applause for Murphy, thanking her for her assistance.