Eagle Scout leads building of hydroponic garden at orphanage in Panama

If you’re supposed to bloom where you’re planted, then Life Scout Ian Simon is flourishing. And he’s helping a local orphanage do some growing of its own as well. For his Eagle Scout service project, Ian planned, developed and gave leadership to the construction of a hydroponic garden for an orphanage in the Central American country of Panama.

Ian grew up as a Scout in North Carolina — a member of Pack 222 and Pack 97 of the Mecklenburg County Council. In 2012, Ian’s dad, Glenn, took a job with VerdeAzul Hotels, a hotel management company in Panama. Soon after arriving, Ian’s dad restarted a dormant Cub Scout unit (Pack 1849) so Ian and his brother, Mateo, could be Cub Scouts. When Ian was old enough, he joined Scouts BSA Troop 1849.

Ever since he became a Scout, Ian has dreaded the Eagle Scout service project — “not because of the amount of work, but because I had no idea of what I wanted to do,” he says. While some Scouts have Eagle project ideas in their heads as early as 11, 12 or 13, Ian put off thinking about his project as long as possible.

Once he became a Life Scout, he couldn’t wait any longer. Ian asked for help from Ryan Kane, an assistant Scoutmaster in the troop. “I discovered that the best thing to do when you’re stuck is to ask for help,” he says. “Once I realized how much people are willing to help in any way they can, I realized that asking for help is one of the greatest things you can do.”

Kane gave Ian the contact to an orphanage in Panama called Casa Providencia, which specializes in providing a caring environment for kids with physical or mental disabilities. Ian learned that the orphanage could really use a garden so it could grow its own food for the children. When Ian visited Casa Providencia, one of its founders told him that while a traditional garden would be useful, a hydroponic garden would be even better.

“He said it wasn’t as expensive and laborious as regular gardening,” Ian says. “And so I began my Eagle project.”

Read the complete article at www.scoutingmagazine.org.

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