Many work outside with nature, this Scout's project was 'inside' job
March 18 turned out to be a very good day for River Falls High School senior Robbie Doyle.
Not only was it Doyle's 18th birthday but, also on that day, he received notification from a national Boy Scouts of America review committee that he earned an Eagle badge, the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve.
Doyle's nearly decade-long Boy Scout involvement had reached its peak.
In this, his last year, he had led a group of nine Scouts through a project that would benefit a community, by following the intricate and demanding step-by-step process required by the BSA.
And he had met all those requirements through special preparation, documentation, research, several verifications, leadership skills and hard work.
"I was really excited to do it," said Doyle, who lives with his family in the town of Troy. "At times it was stressful working on it, so it was a relief to get it done. But I was happy to do it."
Doyle chose as his Eagle project to construct, from scratch, three computers and donate them to a Twin Cities homeless shelter named "Families Moving Forward."
Starting at the end of last November, he completed the task in mid-January.
Adults at the homeless shelter can now use the computers to seek or apply for employment, while their children can use Doyle's computers to do homework or play games.
Where the shelter only had two computers for client use, it now has five, more than doubling the availability.
Not all Scouts are able to achieve the high-ranked award. It literally takes years of work, and being able to earn a long string of various badges through dedicated involvement in the boys' organization.
Only after all those badges are earned, is a Scout permitted to begin an Eagle badge project.
Doyle decided on the computer project after hearing about the homeless shelter's need. His brother is friends with the son of one of the directors on the shelter's governing board.
"Computers are like a hobby of mine," said Doyle. "I've been putting them together for a long time."
Doyle's next step was to begin documentation of every step he took.
He took his idea to his Scoutmaster, a troop committee and Eagle Bluff Boy Scout District members for approvals.
Once those approvals were received, Doyle began fundraising, trying to get enough money to pay for all three computers. He was able to get money from the River Falls Rotary, his grandfather's Rotary club in Michigan, a family friend and part of his troop's Scout Fund.
Seeking about for the best prices for all the components he'd need to build three computers from scratch, along with the monitors, keyboards, and the "mice" to navigate was Doyle's next task. He spent quite a bit of time on price comparisons.
After all parts were ordered and shipped, Doyle was ready to lead his fellow Scouts through the process of building computers.
The Scouts worked mostly on weekends and usually in groups of three. The leadership aspect of his goal was another reason to make the young Scout feel good about his choice.
"Constructing those computers had a bigger aspect to it than just putting parts together," said Doyle. "I was also able to expose (the other Scouts in his troop) to something they hadn't done before."
It was gratifying for Doyle to share his computer knowledge with others.
After the computers were ready to be installed, all who took part in Doyle's project accompanied him to the homeless shelter dressed in their Scouting uniforms.
Doyle received his Eagle badge approval notification after sending his album of documentation and photos, that were scrapbooked by his mother, Cindi Doyle, to the national BSA review committee. The approval was celebrated during a ceremony held earlier this month.
Tom Doyle, Robbie's dad, is proud of his son's accomplishment.
"When it comes to computer problems in our family, he's the one we go to," said Tom about his older son.
Tom also shared more pride about Robbie's achievement. When the homeless shelter's computer consultant examined the Scouts' final product, namely the three made-from-scratch computers, he decided to adopt one for the shelter's main office's needs, and turn the one he had been using over to the clients.
"(Robbie) earned such high praise from the shelter's IT (information technology) person," said the proud father.
Tom explained the shelter's budget had not permitted the purchase of a badly needed new one, but Robbie's had so much more capability and was so much better, he happily accepted it as a big improvement on his old one.
Robbie said the entire project, from the time he began obtaining approvals to begin, to the time the computers were finally installed at the shelter, took about 83 hours for him and his team to complete.
Though working on computers is almost second nature to Doyle, his future plans will not include computers in an education sense, he says.
"I'm planning to major in chemistry," said Doyle.
At this point in his life he sees becoming a pharmacist as an ultimate goal.
And he also enjoys history. Doyle is a member of the St. Croix Valley Civil War Roundtable, that meets monthly in Stillwater, Minn.
"He's the youngest member there," said Tom.
Robbie said he might try for a double major in chemistry and history.
"That's what I'd like to do for now," said Robbie. "But things could change when I get there."
By "there," Doyle is talking about the University of St. Mary's in Winona, Minn. He's visited the campus, likes what he's seen, and placed an importance on the school's religious aspect.
"My faith means a lot to me," he said.
Now with an Eagle badge in hand and college plans set, Doyle has, in addition to a few others, one more important mission to accomplish: Graduation.
To learn more about Families Moving Forward go to: www.familiesmovingforward.org.
See another photo in this week's River Falls Journal