LOUDONVILLE -- The Loudonville Village Youth Building, which first opened in 1955, was built entirely by volunteers, according to archives of The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum in Loudonville.
A local Eagle Scout candidate is following the building's history and renovating it through the same means — with volunteer labor and supplies.
Loudonville scout Camden Stanton, 17, has decided to renovate the youth building for his Eagle Scout service project, the culmination of his work to achieve the top rank.
Through the Eagle Project, youth in Boy Scouts of America are challenged to demonstrate leadership while also completing a project that benefits their community.
“You originally join Boy Scouts because you’re like ‘I want to have the adventure. I want to go camping. I want to have fun,’” Stanton said. “And as you mature throughout it, you realize it’s not just about camping and using knives and playing with fire or whatever.
"It’s really about helping and being beneficial to the community.”
While the Eagle Project is a requirement to achieve the top rank, Stanton views the project as a moral obligation on his part. The Loudonville community regularly donates funding and space to Stanton’s troop. Stanton said he's simply returning the favor.
Boy Scouts — as well as Girl Scouts, farm groups, and Y-teens (those in the YWCA youth club) — initially helped fundraise for the youth building when it was first proposed in 1951, said Kenny Libben, curator at The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum.
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youth groups regularly use the youth building for meetings and events to this day.
“I wanted to leave an impact for future Scouts,” Stanton said. “They’ll get to meet here every week at a place they have pride in, and the town can have pride in this building.”
Stanton plans to make changes both inside and outside the building.
On the main level, he will sand and refinish the floor as well as replace window screens. In the basement, Stanton plans to repaint the walls and potentially replace the ceiling tiles. Throughout the building, he will also do general upkeep tasks, such as dusting.
Improvements to the exterior will include power washing the facade and potentially re-mulching the garden lining the building’s perimeter.
Stanton hopes to complete these renovations by the end of August or early September, as he will begin his senior year at Loudonville High School in the coming weeks.
While he will work as frequently as needed, at least 50 hours, he will not be completing these changes entirely on his own.
Other Scouts, friends, family and community members will be helping him, and he is continuously looking for additional volunteers.
Stanton will be working to get his project officially approved by Boy Scouts of America this week.
“Once BSA approves it, it’s go, go go,” Stanton said.
So far, Stanton has secured material donations from family members and the Lions Club, his troop’s sponsor. Stanton plans to contact other nearby home improvement and hardware businesses this week as well.
The village owns the youth building, village council member Thomas Young said, and during the July 17 council meeting, council granted Stanton permission to make the renovations.
Through grants in recent years, the village added a new roof, lights, furnace and air conditioning to the building, but additional renovations are still needed, Young said.
Young hopes Stanton’s project will revitalize the building so youth groups will use it for meetings, events and general gatherings more often.
“It’s a community building,” Young said. “It’s open to the community.”