A student at West Orange High School, Dawson Beach is helping the school's band program as a part of his Eagle Scout project.
Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout — the highest advancement rank in Scouts BSA — is not easy.
In 2019, out of the millions of scouts who participated in the organization, only 8% — or 61,366 scouts — managed to finish the requirements needed to achieve it.
Right now, Winter Garden resident Dawson Beach, of Boy Scout Troop 225, based in Gotha, is working toward the Eagle Scout ranking. He recently finished the project part of the process, which included the construction of a mobile guitar rack and pipe storage racks for percussion harnesses — both of which will be used by the West Orange High School band program.
“The guitar rack is a double-decker for guitar storage, and it’s mobile, so we’ll be able to transport 20 — 10 on each row — guitars to and from the percussion room and the percussion storage room,” said Beach, 17. “The pipe rack we’re going to install into the wall; it’s not meant to be portable.”
The idea for the two different racks came after a brainstorming session Beach had with West Orange Band Director Ken Boyd to figure out what the program needed.
Beach always has had a love for music — especially percussion — and has been playing since he was taught the drum set in elementary school by his youth pastor. But for the last three years, the West Orange junior has been a part of concert band and marching band at the school — where he plays snare — and he knew of the program’s issues.
“I knew I wanted to do something for my high school band, because I’m pretty involved in that — it’s a pretty big part of my life,” Beach said. “The storage rack seemed to be the most useful daily use of all of the ideas, so I chose that.
“We’ve had problems with the storage room being really cramped, because we used to have a ninth-grade center before I came to the school — it used to be right next to the school, where they would have all the ninth-graders, but also the percussion section would be in there,” he said. “They had much more storage, but when it got closed down, they had to move everything to a tiny storage room right inside the cafeteria, so there’s not a lot of space.”
A SCOUT’S LIFE
Through the years, Beach progressed his way from Cub Scouts — which he began in first grade — to Boy Scouts. During that time, he knew he wanted to achieve Eagle Scout status.
“I never really understood the level of difficulty until I got to the Star rank — the third-to-last rank,” Beach said. “It’s definitely been a climb … it’s definitely challenging.”
However, Beach didn’t undertake this challenge alone. His dad, Todd Beach, had been his Cub Scout leader when he was a child and then became an assistant Scout master when Dawson Beach moved into Boy Scouts. Meanwhile, his sister, Mackenzie Beach, went through the Girl Scouts and attained the Gold Award — the highest honor in that organization.
“The fact that he stuck with it for this length of time — I’m proud,” said his mom, Jennifer Beach. “His sister was in Girl Scouts, and she did the same thing — she went all the way through … I think him seeing that motivated him some to make sure he went all the way through. He’s a very goal-oriented kid, so being able to set a goal of, ‘I want to get this, I want to be able to put this on my college application,’ that kind of stuff motivated him.”
A PROJECT OF CHALLENGES
After jumping on Pinterest to help develop his design ideas, and after getting the project approved, Dawson Beach set out to build the racks — which required some assistance.
The project was supposed to have been done months ago, but the arrival of COVID-19 delayed things. The time to build was now, because he wanted to get it done before he sent out his college applications.
The Beaches reached out to a friend who runs a local non-profit, Fort Barachel, which does carpentry work for events such as Halloween Horror Nights. They had the knowledge and equipment to complete the construction, Jennifer Beach said.
Dawson Beach raised a little more than $700 via a car wash to afford the required wood, nails and other raw materials. Then, the building began, as Dawson Beach, Todd Beach, fellow Scout Garrett Boyd and Mike Carpenter, of Fort Barachel, went to work one Saturday.
“It would have been at least 10 times more frustrating without the help of the wood-shop people; they basically power-rocketed our construction efforts,” Dawson Beach said. “They got the entire frame done in five hours. It was very helpful.”
With the project itself done, now comes the process of participating in a scout master conference — where Dawson Beach will go before multiple scout masters to explain all he had done as a Life Scout. Then, he will go before a board of review to speak about his project and the skills he used to complete it.
The entire process should be complete in the next month, and although he’s not an official Eagle Scout, everything from here on out is simple formalities.
After years in the organization, the excitement for Dawson Beach now is palpable.
“It definitely will be a huge feeling of accomplishment within me — kind of a feeling of relief, almost, that I finally finished all of this stuff that has built up to this moment,” Dawson Beach said. “I’ll just feel proud of myself.”