EASLEY — Earning an Eagle Scout badge through the Boy Scouts of America is an achievement in and of itself, but along the way there’s a larger impact left behind for the community.
Ben Tinsley of Easley, a high school junior who is home schooled, is in the process of completing his Eagle Scout badge requirements, which takes years in the making.
“You have to achieve all the rank advancements, complete some special classes, and be involved in positions of authority within the troop,” Tinsley explained. “You have to constantly be active within the troop and provide a representation of a good role model for the younger scouts.”
Part of the Eagle Scout qualification process is the management and completion of a community service project. Tinsley selected SHINE food bank in Easley for personal reasons. Tinsley’s grandparents operate a food bank in Calhoun Falls and it was through them he was exposed to the local charity.
“SHINE not only works with families, they also provide for other food banks,” Tinsley said. “When my Nana and Poppa would come up to make a pick up I would come along and help. It was an easy decision.”
Tinsley’s idea was to solve one of SHINE’s storage issues, helping convert a room into a pantry. The facility’s food storage facilities to this point have been a detached storage unit and the upgrades Tinsley is performing will go a long way to benefit the organization.
“This is going to help our kitchen operations manager, who now won’t have to go outside to our pantry to prepare meals,” Executive Director Judy Burns said of the impact of Tinsley’s service project. “Plus, we’re going to see a decrease in our electric bill now that we won’t have to run our mobile unit. This is going to be a great asset for us.”
Tinsley has managed the project from its initial stages and as it nears its end, his vision is becoming a reality.
“The pantry is being repainted and I am putting in shelving, 22 shelves in all,” Tinsley said. “Each shelf will be able to hold 325 pounds of food, and that’s a lot of food. There will be over 400 square feet of shelf space and it’s all going to be near the kitchen.”
What’s the purpose of the Eagle Scout program?
“They want to teach you to be a leader, to teach you how to finish something once you start,” Tinsley said. “It takes more than elbow grease. You have to find the funding and see it all through. It’s about leadership and giving back to the community.”
Tinsley is a member of Troop 96 and needs just one merit badge with the completion of his project to earn his Eagle Scout honor. Tinsley raised $2,150 in the process for supplies and materials.
Approximately 1 percent of those who begin scouts as a youth go on to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.