If there’s anything that can be said of Chase Dunn, it’s that he’s one step ahead of the game.
Dunn, 17, is a senior at Plant City High School and a longtime Boy Scout. He completed his Eagle Scout project on Nov. 9, making some cosmetic changes at Alderman’s Ford Park. But, simply installing two new signs and leaving it at that wasn’t enough.
“Bigger, better, more colorful,” Dunn says. “If someone was going to miss the turn, now they won’t. They’ll see the sign.”
The new-look signs are made of old canoes and telephone poles and are indeed difficult to miss. On top of designing these new signs for the park’s recently reopened canoe launch, Dunn also designed an irrigation system to go with the fresh new landscaping underneath each canoe.
The idea for the new signs came from Park Manager Bryan Hughes, who had installed the old signs years ago. Hughes noted many visitors weren’t aware of the old signs’ existence, so there wasn’t as much traffic going to the park as he would have liked.
Dunn decided he wanted to fix that problem, and, with help from his father, Dr. Jeffrey Dunn, and his fellow troop members, he got to work. The end result looks great, just as one would expect from someone so meticulous.
Troop 5 is one of many groups in which Dunn participates. The senior is very much involved at Plant City High School and Plant City’s First Baptist Church. At school, Dunn, a National Merit Commended Scholar, is a member of the National Honor Society, the 1290 Honor Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Civitan Club and Youth Alive. He boasts a 6.04 GPA and has Ivy League aspirations.
“Harvard or Yale would probably be my dream schools,” Dunn says.
He has applied to Florida and Florida State but would prefer to study business at one of the Ivies, if given the chance.
“He made a dream to go to Ivy when he was a kid, so we’ve been trying to work toward him going in that direction,” Jeffrey Dunn said. “Right now, it’s a matter of turning in the paperwork and seeing where the chips fall.”
Anyone who has applied for college knows writing the essay is usually a hassle, but Dunn got that requirement out of the way a while ago.
“I’ve actually already written an essay about my experience with the scouts,” he says.
He also enjoys donating his time to community service, helping out at the United Food Bank of Plant City whenever he can.
But, he says the scouts have been the most prominent part of his life for the past 12 years, and his father is proud to have been a part of that experience.
THERE FOR EVERYTHING
Jeffrey Dunn was also a Boy Scout, and, after his son joined the Cub Scouts, he decided to get back into the program.
“I’m one of the assistant scout masters, and I’ve been involved for about nine years,” he said. “I still remember when (Chase) came home in first grade with the flyer and said, ‘I want to go to this meeting to find out more about scouts.’”
Jeffrey Dunn became involved after the first two years and got to watch his son and the rest of the troop become close friends over the years. In fact, many of them are still together in the same troop, completing final projects.
“Because of their friendship, none of them was in a hurry to finish their final projects,” he said. “They were all pushing until the end — kept them together.”
Now that the end is near, Dunn and the boys wanted this Eagle Scout project to be great.
For this project, Chase Dunn decided to refurbish some old canoes with a fresh coat of paint and big, bright letters. He also added paddle-shaped signs marking the site of the canoe launch and cleared the area around them for irrigation and landscaping.
The canoes were mounted onto recycled telephone poles cut to about six feet. Buoys and ship rope also were added for decorative purposes. The plants around the signs are all carefully-chosen Florida natives, so as not to bring any invasive species into the mix.
Dunn and a team of about nine, including his father, went to the park around 8 a.m. Nov. 9, and toiled away until the afternoon. The end result was a noticeable improvement, even paying some homage to the previous design.
Now, it’s safe to say no one will miss the entrance to the park’s canoe launch, thanks to Dunn’s design.
Contact Justin Kline at email@example.com.
NOT SO COMMON
Readers may recall the story of Spencer and Chris Tatum, twins who also completed an Eagle Scout project, from a previous issue. Like the Tatums, Chase Dunn has been involved with the Scouts since he was very young — Dunn joined the Cub Scouts in first grade.
Although it may seem like these Eagle Scout stories are common, Dunn and the Tatums actually are joining a small group: Only seven percent of all eligible Boy Scouts earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2012.