A work in progress

Thu, 02/28/2008 - 4:40pm
By: The Citizen

Lodge for Scouts is community effort

If you find yourself traveling down Robinson Road in Peachtree City one day and see a large, wooden building set back in the forest, just know that it’s not Paul Bunyan’s cabin, but rather the new lodge for Boy Scout Troop 175.

The two-story, 7,000-square-foot building was the brainchild of Jeff Shafer, the Scoutmaster of Troop 175. Around 2002, everyone had noticed that the facilities at Peachtree City United Methodist Church had become a bit small for the ever-growing Scout troop.

Peachtree City United Methodist now sponsors about 600 Scouts, from Cub Scout dens up to the members of Troop 175. The troop had plans for a building drawn up in 2003, and fund-raising began soon after.

In May 2005 a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site with both the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops present. Construction began soon after and has continued for three years straight since then.

Through the heat of summer, chill of winter, rain, sleet and the occasional snow, the Scout troops have worked endlessly to complete the lodge. Except for the elements that require professional expertise, the lodge is entirely volunteer-built.

“We’ve raised just about $300,000 on our own,” said Laura Mullen, a Girl Scout mom who has worked tirelessly on the project for the last few years. She says the hardest part of the whole project has been getting volunteers to come and help.

“We’d get a big spur going, maybe two to three weeks of the same guys showing up, getting the momentum going, and then there’s a chicken barbecue or another event, and then you lose the momentum and you have to train a whole new set of guys. But it’s all part of the experience,” Mullen recalled.

Over the years, about a thousand volunteers from the community have worked on the project. On average, about ten people show up for the workdays, which are held every Saturday morning until the lodge is finished. But while hard work will complete the lodge, it can’t be everything. “We always make sure that we have fun,” Mullen said of the experience.

The troop organizers hope that the building will be done within the next 60 days. Regardless, the project can always use donations and volunteers. Even when the interior features are finished, the landscaping work will just be starting. The Scouting community will share the lodge maintenance, utilities and other various costs with the church.

Eventually, the Scouts hope to expand the facilities further, but any plans are wishful thinking at the moment. Anyone willing to pitch in is encouraged to contact the troop for more information.

According to Mullen, the best part of the whole project was seeing the kids’ faces when they work on the project. “Having them come out there and help and have ownership, it’s all really cool.”

Those interested in helping out can contact Scoutmaster Jeff Shafer at 404-569-7888 or Laura Mullen at 770-630-1627.

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