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Although July 21, 2012 is the start date listed for his Eagle Project, Donny Comp’s work on the project really began more than five years ago. A member of Troop 94 in Shermans Dale, he never had any doubts about what his Eagle Project was going be. It was always just a matter of making sure the details were exactly right.
Many will undoubtedly remember the tragic accidental fall in 2007 that claimed the life of Webelos Scout Tyler Shope on the first day of summer camp at Hidden Valley Scout Reservation. That incident hit the Scouting community hard.
“Not only was Tyler a great kid and Cub Scout, he was my little brother’s best friend,” said Comp, now a student at Harrisburg Area Community College majoring in mechanical engineering. “My family is very close to the Shope family and I wanted to do something special for them.”
With the permission of the Shope family, Comp set out to create the “Tyler Shope Memorial Playground” at Lupfer’s Grove & Campground in Shermans Dale, Pa.
After redesigning the playground five times in AutoCAD with his uncle, Comp’s final design consisted of a play tractor structure, sand diggers and a swing set with a tractor-tire swing. All of these elements are significant because they are things that Tyler loved in life. Even the location where Comp chose to build the playground is special because it is where Tyler and his family would come to see the Old Iron Tractor Show each year.
With a plan in place and more than 50 eager volunteers, Comp started his project last July. The work went so smoothly that by the end of the first week he knew the project would be completed by his 18th birthday in August. “People would get done with a job and say, ‘Hey, what needs done next?’ ” Comp said.
In addition to setting a 700 pound I-beam, managing people was one of the difficult parts of his project. “Learning how to deal with people and adapting was a challenge,” Comp said, but that’s where Scouting has taught him the most – the importance of working together as a team.
Comp’s team of volunteers logged more than 2,000 hours in completing the playground. The project also benefitted from tremendous community support. “Lots of individuals gave donations, but the biggest contributor was Penske Truck Leasing,” said Comp. “They donated $1,500.” With an estimated project cost of $9,600, Comp managed to raise about $5,000 in donations, with the rest either donated or offset by having materials given to him at cost by local stores.
Overall, Comp said he’s pleased with his project. He hopes it will give kids a safe place to play while it helps the community heal from Tyler’s loss. “We can’t bring Tyler back, but this playground will help others to remember him.”