Van Reynolds of Montesano has become the Harbor’s first Eagle Scout to have his final interview conducted remotely. He passed his Eagle board via a Zoom conference May 17.
He’s also the last Scout to make Eagle from Central Park Troop 4007, which shut down last year. He finished with Montesano Troop 4005 and did his Eagle project at Lake Sylvia State Park.
The Montesano High School senior, now 18, has been in the Scouting program since he was 6. He faced some unexpected challenges on his path to Eagle, but still achieved Scouting’s highest youth award with active support from his parents and other Scout volunteers.
His mom, Renee Reynolds, served as a Cub Scout leader when Van was younger; and his father, Jim Reynolds, worked with the troop after he crossed over to Boy Scouts.
Tim Oden, a lifelong Scouter, was Troop 4007’s Scoutmaster when Van and his brothers joined. “Without Tim’s way with the boys and making it an incredible troop to be in, I know my sons would not have stayed in it,” said Renee.
After Oden died a few years ago, Webelos leader Darrell Robinson volunteered to guide the troop’s remaining Scouts to their Eagle rank.
“We were all worried about the boys after Tim’s passing,” said Renee. “But Darrell stepped up and took on the task.”
Van’s father also lauded Robinson’s dedication. “It is likely that Van would not have continued without (Robinson) being there to guide and support him,” said Jim.
Renee added that past Eagle Scouts from Troop 4007 also continued to support the younger Scouts. “Those are who Van looked up to,” she said.
When the time came for Van to plan his Eagle project, he consulted Montesano Forester Loren Hiner to ask what was needed. “Mr. Hiner had been such a valuable resource in the past, providing so many projects for previous eagle scouts from our troop,” said Van.
Hiner made a couple of suggestions, and Van chose to replace a log bridge over a washout on a heavily used trail at Lake Sylvia. The makeshift bridge — used by hikers, mountain bikers and occasionally the Montesano Police — was “unsafe and ready to fail,” Van said.
“The undertaking was huge and the logistics proved very difficult,” he added, “but I knew that my project needed to be big. I am the last eagle of Central Park Troop 4007, and I felt a huge responsibility that my project would honor all of the leaders and the scouts that came before me.”
The replacement constructed by Van and his cadre of volunteers is a 20-foot-long, 6-foot wide friction-type bridge, “utilizing three intricate arches, concrete footers and a whole lot of decking,” he said.
“I am proud of Van for sticking with it this whole time,” said his mom, “but I have to say if it were not for the continued dedication of Darrell Robinson, even after his son was grown out of the program, Van may have not stayed with it.”
It could be said that Robinson is equally proud of Van’s accomplishment. “It has been a real pleasure to watch him grow into the amazing young man that he is,” he said.