Westwood Teen Completes 6-Month Scout Service Project, Builds Steps on Eroded Hiking Trail


Photo courtesy of Kate La Croix. Liam La Croix sits at the bottom of the new set of steps that he constructed at Hale Education, a project which he undertook in pursuit of achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

When hikers mount the new set of steps at the start of the Page & Sadie Trail to trek around scenic Hale Education’s Noanet Pond, they can thank 16 year-old Liam La Croix for easing the beginning of their trek. Recently, the rising Westwood High School junior completed a months-long Eagle Scout project of building stairs at an entrance to the property’s popular trail.

La Croix says he got the idea of building a new set of stairs on the trail which he often hikes because he had noticed the area “in shambles.” His family has frequented Hale for walks and for its beaches, and he calls the property very special to him. La Croix wanted to contain the erosion from biking and hiking activity by diverting foot traffic to the new steps, thereby reducing foot traffic on other parts of the trail.

Involved in the Boy Scouts since around fourth grade, La Croix recognized the opportunity to do something about the problem. “Eagle Scouting is about service,” he says, and noted that one step that scouts need to achieve while seeking that rank is to complete a significant service project.

The entire project took about six months, from planning to completion, he estimates. Planning was the lengthiest step, taking about four months. It included obtaining approval from Hale Education and his troop. The approval from Hale came swiftly, he says. For the members of Westwood Troop 3, he pitched this proposal in a slideshow and completed a “blueprint” in advance. Given feedback, La Croix incorporated changes into revised plans. He submitted the proposal to the local Boy Scout council in Milton, and received approval to begin.

La Croix conducted a fundraising campaign with GoFundMe, and his family helped to spread the word. He raised $2,355. “Everyone was very generous,” he says. Contributions ranged from $25 to a few hundred dollars.

The construction of the steps took 30 hours over four days of work. Prepping the site involved moving his supplies of lumber and equipment there. La Croix used 32 pieces of 4x6 pressure-treated wood and lag bolts as fasteners. His project included driving rebar into the ground in a few places to secure the steps. He then filled the steps with crushed rock.

“Our main obstacle was the grade of the hill,” he says. “The ground was not even, so we had to dig down to level out the ground for steps and there were many rocks and roots to get out. We had to prep the site and get boulders out of the way.” La Croix notes that many in Troop 3 Westwood helped him, and he received some adult help – most notably from his father.

“I was helped by my dad quite a bit. My dad and I did work on the steps. I got a huge amount of help from the troop, friends, and other adults,” he said.

At project’s end, La Croix found that he had used about $1,300 of the funds raised. The approximate $1,000 remaining he decided to donate to Hale Education.

The community and Hale can expect to enjoy the benefit of La Croix’s project, and the efforts of La Croix and his team of helpers, for years to come. As for what La Croix himself takes away from the experience, he says he has matured, developing discipline and leadership skills. He has learned to tackle bigger things and take on more responsibility in leading people. He encourages others to join Boy Scouts.

“Everything was harder than I thought it would be – harder to plan it, and harder to get approval, harder to get it done,” he says. “It brought about a good amount of determination, as it was time consuming and strenuous to do, but I got it done. I carried that with me throughout the project,” he says.

Thanks to Liam La Croix for speaking with Westwood Minute and to Kate La Croix for sharing this news.

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