Salida Boy Scout Talmage Trujillo Jr., a sophomore at Salida High School, led a team of 12 scouts and adult volunteers in the installation of two park benches in Salida.

The bench installation was Trujillo’s Eagle Scout project.

One bench is on the east bank of Frantz Lake. The second bench is overlooking the Arkansas River just below Frantz Lake. Both benches are memorial benches purchased by donors and installed at the direction of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Salida-area Parks, Open-space & Trails (SPOT).

“Digging into the hard earth with lots of rocks was tough,” Trujillo said. “We had pickaxes and shovels and some good workers.”

An Eagle project is a major project that must benefit the community and show that a scout can visualize, plan and execute a project while organizing and directing volunteers. The scout conducts all the interface with the project beneficiaries with only modest supervision from adult mentors.

Trujillo learned several lessons during this five-month project process. “I have to make myself clear as a leader, and at times I could have been more organized and efficient,” he said.

Beyond his development as a project leader, the project results were outstanding. Donna Rhoads, president of SPOT, represented the project beneficiary cohort.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this Eagle Scout project. Working with Talmage was delightful as we coordinated with the families who donated the benches, the Colorado Parks & Wildlife staff and the Salida Public Works Department. The scouts did a fabulous job setting the benches in their appropriate spots, and we in the community thank the young men and their leaders very much,” Rhoads said.

The three pillars of Boy Scouts are leadership, service and outdoor skills. Trujillo is an experienced outdoorsman, participating in backcountry activities both within the troop and on his own. He is skilled on the river and participated in this past summer’s four-day, unsupported backpacking trip with Salida Scout Troop 60.

The Eagle project is a key step in developing a leader who can successfully interface with adults, enter into a contract to provide a service, then deliver results while directing volunteers.

“I am happy with the benches. They should be here a long time for people to enjoy,” Trujillo said.

Troop 60 scouts are now in the fall scouting season. Boy Scouts are 11-17 years old and meet at 7 p.m. Mondays at the Salida Rotary Scout Hut. New scouts are welcome anytime. No experience is necessary. For Boy Scouts, contact Scoutmaster Brian Petit at teampetit@hotmail.com or Michelle Vold at mvold321@gmail.com.

Salida also has a Cub Scout pack for younger ages. For more information, contact Cubmaster Buel Mattix, 719-221-0492, or buellygoat@hotmail.com.

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