A number of Boy Scouts in town earn the rank of Eagle each year, but not many people in Wilton can say they have three in their immediate family. The Collins family can.
Three of Laurie Collins’s sons have been members of Wilton Boy Scout Troop 20, and all three have earned Eagle.
Collins’s two eldest, Patrick and PJ, earned Eagle in 2014 and are now seniors in college. Her most recent Scout, Ryan — a 2017 Wilton High School graduate and current freshman at the University of Texas in Austin — earned his Eagle rank last spring.
“Scouting has provided many experiences for them and has helped to shape the young men they are today,” said Collins.
“When we moved to our current home in Wilton, we met neighbors who were Cub Scout den parents and our older boys eventually became Cub Scouts and joined their den. Ryan, as the younger brother, was anxious to be a part of Scouts, too, so he started as a Tiger Cub in first grade.”
Patrick built benches, secured with cement footings, for the soccer fields at Ambler Farm for his Eagle Scout project, while PJ restored a faded map of the United States on the blacktop near the old Miller School playground.
While Patrick’s benches can still be found at the soccer fields, the same cannot be said for PJ’s map, which “became a victim of the recent Miller-Driscoll School construction and is no longer there,” said Collins.
Ryan chose to remove and replace an old, unsafe bridge on the walking path at the Gregg Preserve in Wilton for his Eagle Scout project.
“I chose to build a bridge on the Gregg Preserve when my mother’s friend put me in contact with [Bruce] Beebe, the president of Wilton Land Conservation Trust, who recommended the project and [told] me a bit about how the [Land Trust] wanted the bridge to look,” said Ryan, who started planning his project in the summer of 2016.
“My plan was to complete my project by the end of the summer so I could go into my senior year of high school not having to worry about it,” he said, “but I ended up putting it off for a long time and started working much more seriously on it in January 2017.”
Getting donations was the most difficult part, said Ryan.
“After several trips to the store and a lot of back-and-forth, most of my materials for the project were generously donated from the Home Depot in Norwalk,” he said.
“After months of planning and getting materials together, my volunteers and I were finally ready to start the project.”
With the help of volunteers and donations, Ryan completed his project on April 4, with a total of about 77.5 service hours.
The best part about the project, he said, was “building the bridge and seeing the final product when it was finished.”
“I was very relieved to have finished the job and was very happy to see how well it turned out,” said Ryan.
“The new bridge is much safer than the old one and will allow the walking trails to continue to be used.”
Ryan said earning Eagle means “a great deal” to him.
“It is the highest rank in Boy Scouts of America, and I worked hard for eight years to achieve my goal,” he said.
“Earning Eagle was one of the most difficult tasks of my life, but also the most rewarding by far.”
Ryan received his Eagle Scout Award at a Court of Honor ceremony at Zion’s Hill United Methodist Church on Nov. 25, with his family — including his two older brothers and fellow Eagle Scouts — in attendance.