Austin Vaughan ’22 knew right away what he wanted to focus on for his Eagle Scout service project – animals.
“I love animals and I wanted to help them because they are not able to help themselves,” explained Vaughan.
He researched places and projects and landed on Cincinnati Animal CARE, a no-kill animal shelter.
Austin’s project was to create two exercise play yards and a catch pen for the dogs. After much coordination, planning, researching, and skill development, he completed the project in two weekends. But it was not easy work. The 84 hours of labor were provided by Austin himself as well as fellow scouts, adults, and Country Day students, who spent the weekends digging post holes, setting metal fence posts in concrete, and installing chain-link fences and gates.
According to Carolyn Evans, executive director of CARE, “Playgroups are now happening regularly, and those play yards literally get used to the max every.single.day.”
Not every Boy Scout becomes an Eagle Scout because there are rigorous requirements that must be fulfilled to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. The scout must:
- Have earned six previous ranks. The first four focus on skills development, the next two focus on leadership development.
- Have earned at least 21 merit badges, including 13 specifically required merit badges.
- Have served in at least one leadership position within the troop.
- Plan, organize, fund, and lead a service project benefiting a non-profit or civic organization.
“Ultimately it's your choice to become an Eagle Scout, but besides the objective benefits of being an Eagle Scout – such as possible employment opportunities and a way to stand out in college applications – this work also gave me a sense of satisfaction,” said Vaughan. “I never stop building on what I make. Now I've reached a milestone and there is a sense of accomplishment in that. It was a lot of work but it was worth it.”
Austin, who has been a Boy Scout since 6th grade and a Country Day student since 7th grade, believes it’s important to continue to provide service to others.
“As an Eagle Scout, I should do my best to give back not only to my troop but also to my community because it's my job to lead,” continued Vaughan.
One way that he gives back at school is by being involved. He is a member of the Student Health Advisory Council, Game Design Club, and every student theater production since 8th grade – both behind the scenes and on stage. “Being on crew provides a sense of community that I like. We make this show together as a cast and crew, but it’s not possible without the sound crew.”
Austin also plays guitar, piano, and cello and is learning to play the drums. He hopes to minor in music and double major in psychology and English next year in college. But before he graduates from Country Day, he would like to accomplish one more thing.
“I want to bring my class together even more. Last year was hard on us. Being a student during the pandemic is not easy. In these final moments together, I would like to bring everyone together because there will never be another time like this in our lives.”