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Friends and Neighbors: Eagle Scout transforms Quaker Hill church

Eighteen-year-old Connor Briggs is a member of the Quaker Hill Baptist Church, and it was there that he decided to do his project to be named an Eagle Scout.

Before any scout can receive the rank of Eagle, the highest in scouting, he must first complete an Eagle project. The purpose of it is for the scout to demonstrate leadership skills while simultaneously performing a service for the community.

“It’s all about giving back to the community that gave to you,” Briggs, a Griswold resident, said.

The woods next to Quaker Hill Baptist church was the location of an old barn used to hold hay for horses. One hundred years later, some of the pasture was paved over to make parking spaces for automobiles.

The wood from the barn was taken down and used to build the old farmer’s house across from the church, but the stone foundation still existed. This sparked the idea for Briggs to build a deck on top of the foundation and turn it into an activity center for children.

“It’s a big idea, but it’s well worth it,” he said.

When he knew what he wanted to do, he got his troop behind him to help and he filled out all the necessary forms before sending it to the Boy Scout headquarters in Irving, Texas.

After getting approved, Briggs and his troop raised funds for the project by collecting bottles and cans. They ended up collecting $1,200 worth of recyclables.

In addition the money the troop raised, he also was able to earn more through a bake sale at his church, as well as a yard sale at home. The result of that was an additional $600.

By the end, Briggs, amember of Troop 20 in Jewett City, was able to exceed his goal of $2,400. After spending all he needed for the project, he donated the rest to his church.

Many people contributed to the Eagle project, including Briggs’ fellow scouts and everyone who donated to the project. He had support from everyone, especially his grandmother Judy Gaetano of Uncasville.

Gaetano, who grew up in Waterford, was a member of the Girl Scouts and continued to help the scouts as an adult leader. She was there every step of the way, always pushing Briggs to be the best he can be.

The Scouts taught Briggs to be understanding and kind, as well as to be truthful to himself and others.

“You can’t really have a Boy Scout troop and have all these morals without following what it means to be a Boy Scout,” he said.

The project itself was no easy task, but by the time he was done there was a great sense of relief as well as accomplishment. It certainly paid off when Briggs, after seven years as a Boy Scout, obtained his Eagle Scout award on Aug. 13.

So what’s next for Briggs? He is currently going to college at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich while simultaneously working for UPS. So far his biggest goal is to transfer to a college where he can pursue biology, preferably at UConn.

His current career goal is being an animal nutritionist, but he is keeping his options open. Whatever path he decides to take, he will most certainly carry all the lessons and experiences that he gained as a member of the Boy Scouts.

Friends and Neighbors is a regular feature in The Times. To submit, email times@theday.com.

Paul Garrett and Chantel Bailey are Times interns from Mitchell College.

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