Helping them learn the ropes

For their project, Eagle Scouts set up obstacle course at Girl Scout camp

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From left, Joshua Averett, Matthew Averett and Ryan Mylroie test the new rope course.

WORLEY - Sound and sturdy.

After a test run Saturday on the new ropes course at Camp Four Echoes, everything appears to be ready for swinging.

And climbing.

And balancing, and squeezing through a tire and falling off backwards from a log, trusting someone will catch you.

"It's called the trust log," Matthew Averett, Troop 269 boy scout explained, while touring the low rope course he and an army of volunteers installed at the Girl Scout camp at Sun Up Bay on the south end of Lake Coeur d'Alene. "You fall and your teammates catch you."

Hence the name.

It's one of the eight stations on the course Averett and his friends from his church built Saturday for Averett's Eagle Scout project. The entire obstacle course is designed for team building, which is why he chose it as his project.

You need help sliding a tire up a 10-foot pole. Or climbing a 12-foot wall. Both of those are on the course too, built with the help of donations from businesses like Lowe's, Home Depot, Avista, Fasteners and Costco, to name a few. The station where you slide the tire up and over a pole is called Giant's Finger. Think of it just like that, sliding a wedding ring off a giant finger. How to 14-year-olds like Averett managed to get so high to do it?

"You climb on your teammate's shoulders," he said.

Now that's trust, too.

The obstacle course wasn't the only project at the camp. Ryan Mylroie, 14, and friends carved out a quarter-mile trail from an access road down to the beach. Brandon Zaugg, troop 269, helped tear down two worn-out tent platforms, and rebuilt a third platform which sits down near the water.

Zaugg, 17, said that being an Eagle Scout "runs in his family" while camp staff said the spot he chose to upgrade is the best spot for sleeping on hot summer nights because it sits perfectly to pick up a breeze off the lake.

"I'm really impressed with the boys and how much they were able to accomplish," said Roger McRoberts, Girl Scouts property manager, who has never experienced such a showing of volunteer support in his five years at the camp, but already has more scouts asking if they could help the camp for their project. "It's a great partnership and I really hope we can continue."

Girl scouts use the camp from mid June through August. On Saturday, crews got busy at 8 a.m., and were finished by lunch.

"It feels awesome," said Mylroie after completing the trail where he used woodchips donated by Stimson Lumber as the surface, and tools donated by Sequoia Landscaping in Hayden to break through the brush. "I really want to thank the volunteers, without them this wouldn't be here."

A project has to benefit at least one person to be Eagle Scout worthy.

The scouts said the more people it helps, the better. They came across the idea about three months ago, and had to organize the donations and volunteer time themselves. For the volunteers, they went to their church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hayden, and each of the three projects had at least 20 helpers.

As for the rope course - which the boys camp doesn't have, by the way - Jonathan Katz, an LDS recreation property director, came over from the Seattle area to certify the course.

"It's legit," he said of the course, meaning its locked, loaded, and ready to go.

"These are some amazing young men," he added.

Staff writer George Kingson contributed to this report.

Boy Scout Matthew Averett jumps from log to log Saturday on the Stump Up section of the rope course he helped build at Camp Four Echoes for his Eagle Scout project.


Volunteers Kaylee Davis, Erin Zaugg and Derek Zaugg help refurbish a tent platform at the Girl Scout camp.

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