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Justin Barr's scout project has personal significance

Staff writer

Boy Scout Justin Barr of Marion spent a couple of years trying to find just the right project for his Eagle Scout service project.

Many ideas came to him, but none of them were what he was looking for: a project with personal meaning to him.

“That’s what I was looking for the whole time, something that meant something to me,” he said.

Finally a project that fit what he sought came to him earlier this summer. On July 5, he attended the funeral of a child he met at camp who died of cancer, and Justin learned of an opportunity to help the camp.

“It was for Camp Quality of Greater Kansas City,” he said.

Camp Quality is a national organization that hosts summer camps for children who have cancer or are in remission. Justin has attended the camp the past three years after learning about it from fellow Marion High School student Drew Knolla.

Justin had neuroblastoma stage IV cancer when he was 3, but he has been cancer-free for 13 years.

This year, Camp Quality moved to a new campground at Camp Maurer in Excelsior Springs, Mo. The new campground didn’t have a fire ring for evening campfires, which Justin learned in July, and camp was less than a month away. Justin said the camp includes gathering at the campfire and singing almost every night.

Because it was so close to the beginning of camp, the regional council expedited the approval process for Justin’s project. On July 28 and 29, he built a fire ring for the new campground with help from fellow scout Zach Fruechting of Marion and Eagle Scout Jason Spengel of Overland Park.

First, they assembled the stones for the fire ring on a concrete slab without cementing the stones together so they could figure out exactly where everything needed to go. They then disassembled and reassembled the fire ring and cemented it together.

Justin said the stones weighed about 85 lbs. each. Between the stones and cement, the fire ring weighs about 1,700 lbs., he said.

He said Jack Boese and Doug Lind advised him in the planning stages of the project.

After completing the project, they had a dedication ceremony for the fire ring, which was ready when the campers arrived at the beginning of August.

Justin still must go through a rigorous application and review process to receive the Eagle Scout award.

Last modified Aug. 31, 2011

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