It is easier to locate information and more difficult to get lost at the Al Foster Memorial Trailhead in Wildwood, thanks to a new Eagle Scout.
Aidan Stine, 18, of Wildwood earned the rank of Eagle Scout by building an 800-pound information kiosk at the trailhead.
The kiosk, a wooden structure with a metal roof, was placed at Al Foster on Nov. 9, 2020. The city of Wildwood uses the kiosk to share trail maps, hiking-related information and to post flyers for upcoming events.
Aidan, a senior at Eureka High School, said he started the project when he was 16 and spent more than 200 hours on it.
“We were able to put it together with a ton of man hours,” said Aidan, a member of Troop 677, which is sponsored by Living Word United Methodist Church in Wildwood.
Aidan said Wildwood officials recommended constructing the kiosk after he approached the city to find out if there were any needs he could fulfill with an Eagle Scout project.
Aidan said city officials provided him a blueprint for the kiosk.
Wildwood Parks and Recreation Superintendent Gary Crews said he worked with Aidan on the project.
A different Scout had constructed a kiosk at a city park for his Eagle Scout project, and Crews said he felt the trailhead would benefit from a similar project.
“I know that (the Al Foster Memorial kiosk) gets used all the time because people were always calling us asking if they can make certain postings or something,” Crews said. “We go down there and obviously, the board is locked with our lock, but they will have different things pinned to the wood and the framework.”
Typically an Eagle Scout candidate recruits help from fellow troop members, but because of ongoing health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aidan said only a limited number of people could lend him a hand.
He also said the winter weather restricted when work could be done on the project.
“I employed the use of, I believe, 12 different people at certain times,” Aidan said. “We were able to fully construct, transport and install it in a few months, which is longer than what we expected, but there were a lot of delays along the way.”
Crews said the kiosk is a popular feature.
“It’s of interest to a lot of people, especially if you’re not familiar with the park area,” Crews said.
Aidan said he saw the impact his project made shortly after he installed the kiosk.
“Only a day or two after I sent the email saying it’s all done to the city, I went back and I found there were posters and informational papers already up there,” he said. “So, the use came immediately.”
Eagle Scout rank
Aidan said he felt obligated to work for the Eagle rank, the highest rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America, because his dad, Greg, is an Eagle Scout.
Greg was his son’s Eagle Scout project coach and is a former Wildwood councilman.
Aidan’s late grandfather, Gordon “Wayne” Stine, who died when Aidan was 1 year old, also was an Eagle Scout, said Aidan’s mother, Deborah Stine.
“There’s a sort of legacy that I think is worth continuing,” Aidan said. “But also, I wanted to keep going because a number of my friends have been in Scouts but have since dropped out. I wanted to keep going to not only prove it to myself, but also to gain a certain level of experience and achievement that I believe will set me apart from the rest.”
Aidan earned 22 merit badges, one more than is required, before working on his final project. He said his favorite merit badge was kayaking, which he earned at summer camp.
“I think one of the most important aspects of Scouting is to have fun and to gain meaningful experiences, which I definitely got,” Aidan said.
Aidan officially became an Eagle Scout on Feb. 23.
“In one sense, it was a relief because all the work I had done finally came together,” Aidan said. “When you set years of your life, dedicated to a certain point to a certain goal, and then you’re able to get there and look back on what you’ve done, it’s a feeling that is hard to describe in words.”
Deborah was not at a loss for words when talking about what her son achieved.
“It was important to our family and to Aidan to do the project for the city, just to demonstrate our family’s commitment to this local area,” she said.
Deborah said she has enjoyed watching her son progress from a Cub Scout to a Boy Scout and then earn the Eagle designation.
“I was extremely proud to watch him take ownership of the Eagle Scout project and finish his Eagle Scout badges,” she said.