On Sunday, June 21, a day that was marred by grief over the recent massacre in Charleston perpetrated in hatred by a twisted young man, it was reassuring and inspiring to attend the Court of Honor of Eagle Scout Charles Slate of Guilford’s Scout Troop 474. The ceremony was the perfect blend of seriousness and humor as Charles received his Eagle Scout badge, recited the Boy Scout pledge, and was then “roasted” by his fellow scouts and mentors as they shared stories of Charles’s exploits through his years of Scouting.
Charles’s project, sponsored by the Branford Shoreline Greenway Trail team, was to clear and restore to use Branford’s Outdoor Classroom, which is just off of the SGT Trail between Pine Orchard and Birch Road. With the help of his father and fellow Scouts of Troop 474, Charles cleared vines away from the mafia block seating area, cut down small trees that had sprung up in the clearing in front of the seats, and laid a thick surface of mulch to deter further weed growth. He also had to work with Branford town officials for permitting.
Charles’ project will not only make the Outdoor Classroom available for use by Branford’s schools once again, but also sparked interest in the nearby area that was developed as “Nature’s Garden” and intended as a location for environmental education. So in restoring this Classroom, he has planted a seed that we hope will grow into a tree of education for Branford’s children. He and his fellow Scouts have reminded us that what happened in Charleston was an exception, and that there are many fine young men and women to lead us in the future.