September 11, 2010
Making a Difference On and Off the Field
When the Wolverine football team pauses from their pre-game preparation Friday night at the Grassy Knoll, junior tackle Josh Grider and his teammates will proudly turn and face the American flag above the stone wall he designed and built for his Eagle Scout leadership project.
Grider is just minor steps away from earning the Boy Scouts of America’s high honor, and building the wall was the culmination of months of planning, as he worked to plan, design, and raise financial resources to complete the project.
Last spring, Grider approached Prince Avenue Christian School Athletic Director Richard Ricketts with the idea of doing something that would benefit the school as he worked toward the Eagle rank. He had noticed that the area around the flag pole was pretty barren and lacked any landscaping, and thought he could make the area look much better. Ricketts was thrilled that one of the school’s athletes was ready to give back to the school in such a positive way. Several years earlier, another football player, Tyler Morris, had built a concession stand and rest room facility for his Eagle Scout project. Prince Avenue would once again reap the benefits of the scouting program’s leadership pursuit. The new wall and landscaping would enhance an area that had a dubious history at the school. When the land was cleared to install the baseball and football fields, large rocks were exposed, making an interesting and fun place for kids to hang out and play during ball games. When the new practice field and baseball batting cage were installed, the rocks were cleared away, revealing a den of copperhead snakes. Coyotes had been rumored to roam the area at night, as well. Danger was averted.
With several weekends of physical labor, Josh Grider made the area much better. He had raised the money needed to fund the project by contacting local businesses for donations. He did extensive research to find the best materials and design ideas, and drew out the plans. Work began.
Grider led a team of fellow scouts and friends as they prepared the area, built the wall, and completed the landscaping. During the heat of the summer, Grider says the wall took several weekends to build, but he enjoyed learning how to do this sort of work, and was glad he could make a contribution to his school.
The leadership experience was great for Grider. A quiet and unassuming sort of guy, he had served in other leadership positions through the scouting program, but none that required him to be so responsible for the end results. A member of Troop 388, Grider had served as a patrol leader, but through this project his leadership demonstrated the ability to motivate and direct others who helped him build.
That same high level of motivation and leadership is what Wolverine football coach Mark Farriba hopes to see from Grider on the field, as well. A starting offensive lineman, Grider continues to improve his football skills, and Farriba is hoping he’ll commit to becoming a vocal team motivator. Grider says that as a Wolverine he has loved working as a team, realizing that playing football is not just about one person.
Within the next couple of weeks, Grider will face a Boy Scout Council who will evaluate his work and the leadership he has displayed as he has progressed toward the Eagle rank. But, as he turns to face the flag on Friday night, he might just smile a little as he acknowledges the work he put in to make his school a better place to be.