Tyler Jones oversaw a beautification project at the Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County (Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press)
At age 14, Tyler Jones, a seven-year member of the local Sequoyah Council of Boy Scouts, set out to accomplish his Eagle Scout ranking before he started high school.
It took months of planning and close to 100 of hours of work raising funds, recruiting volunteers and lining up needed materials and equipment. But at the end of May, the rising freshman at Science Hill High School cleared the tallest hurdle toward his Eagle Scout goal.
Putting his leadership skills to the test and his back to task, Jones led more than 50 volunteers in a daylong beautification project at the Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County on May 31, completing a service project that will benefit his community for the long run and putting himself on deck for the Scouts’ highest rank of advancement,
The colorful new mural at the entrance of the club building on West Market Street, the new landscaping timbers, flowers, evergreens and mulch beneath the club logo and the new path of double stone pavers that leads to the football field were all put in place under Jones’ supervision.
And with his pending completion of the last of 21 mandatory merit badges, Jones expects to earn his Eagle Scout rank at about the same time he plays his first football game with the Science Hill Hilltoppers and three years ahead of the average age most boys earn Eagle Scout.
“The front looks a lot better now,” he said with satisfaction of the place where he played his first season of football at age 11.
“I chose this place because this is where I started playing football and I know how much they needed and deserved the improvements.
“It wasn’t easy. We cut the path out with a sod cutter and the stones weighed 50 pounds at least. That took the longest. We started at 9:30 a.m. and we finished at 3 p.m.”
But the most satisfying part of the project, he said was to be able “to do stuff for other people that’s going to get used, stuff they can’t do for themselves.”
And when he makes the ultimate Scouting rank there will be another kind of satisfaction. “I always wanted to finish Eagle Scout. My dad was (Eagle Scout) and I wanted to come even with him mostly.”
In addition to his dad, Brion, the list of people Jones thanks for helping him complete the project begins with his mom, Ida, and sister Katie. While he and his dad did the dirty work, stripping and priming the club’s old sign board in preparation for the mural, it took his mother’s artistic talent to design and create the illustration of what the Boys & Girls Club is about. And because he does not yet drive, his 18-year-old sister provided much of the transportation he needed to get the project rolling.
Other key volunteers included his fellow troop members; Terry Henderson and Joe Carver from Terry Henderson Landscaping; Ron Wick and other individuals and families from the Jones’ church; Danny Wilson who loaned his truck and trailer for the project; friend and neighbor Mark Finucane; at least three of the Boys & Girls Club board members who came out to help; and Foster Signs, who removed and remounted the mural board. Key contributors of materials and equipment on his thank you list include Evergreen Garden Center, Mize Farm & Garden, Builders’ First Choice, Wheatland Landscapes, Sherwin Williams, Dana Allen, Buc Deli and Pizza Hut.
Robin Crumley, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, said the project not only gave the building a fantastic face lift, it came with a future bonus. Several of Jones’ fellow troop members are also coming up through Eagle Scout and have already approached her about other needed updates at the club.