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Scouting a new playground

When Stephen Caton was trying to decide on an Eagle Scout project this year, all he had to do was look out his church’s window.

“Being a child who grew up in the (First Presbyterian) church, we didn’t use the playground a lot, because it was kind of a dysfunctional area,” Caton said. “I thought this would be a great project so that the children in our church would be able to use the area now.”

Caton, 15, spearheaded an effort to improve the church’s playground area. On Sat., May 9, roughly 50 volunteers worked a little more than six hours to help to build a 70-foot privacy fence, build and install two benches, and add some shrubbery and landscaping to the area.

Caton said the group also helped pull down old playground equipment, but was not able to install new playground equipment due to liability concerns. The church will install new playground equipment in the near future, he said.

“A lot of people showed up,” Caton said. “We wanted to put up a fence to cover up the lot next to the church. In order to do that, we had to cut down these huge red tops. We did that, then built the fence, and we built two nice benches that parents and children will be able to sit on.

“We planted some plants on the other side of the area (from the fence), so they’d grow and add some additional privacy and beauty to the area.”

Caton will undergo a board review in June as the final step to becoming an Eagle Scout officially. He has participated in Scouting since kindergarten, when he started in Tiger Cubs.

“It’s taught me leadership skills,” he said. “Also organizational skills, survival skills, how to get along with others, and teamwork.”

Caton said he is especially thankful for the assistance of his father, Todd Caton, as well as Jay Dubose and Gary Buck.

“They helped a lot with the planning and carrying the project out,” he said. “Everything went well. We had a lot of people who came and helped.”

Caton is a ninth grader at Andalusia High School and is the son of Todd and Jackie Caton of Andalusia. He has one sister, Hope, 13. Caton is a member of Troop 46, under the leadership of David Bryant.