A Boy Scout in Weatherford Troop 76 is raising money to build a new playground at Soldier Spring Park in a fundraiser on Thursday at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

Daniel Yeats, 17, plans to organize the renovation as his Eagle Scout project. Becoming an Eagle Scout is the highest rank that a boy scout can earn.

Yeats needs $10,000 for the project. He started collecting donations at the end of May and said he has raised about $5,200 so far.

The fundraiser takes place from 6-9 p.m. at the Weatherford Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on South Main Street. Ten percent of Fuzzy’s sales will be donated to the project when guests mention it. Donated items will also be sold during that time to raise money.

When deciding what to focus on for his project, Yeats said he asked Weatherford’s Parks, Recreation and Special Events Department how he could help. Replacing Soldier Spring Park playground was on the top of their list, so Yeats decided to tackle this project, he said.

Yeats said he hopes to have raised all the money by the end of the month. He plans to start in September and finish the project in one to two weeks. The parks department will build the playground and Yeats said he plans to supervise and help where he can. The project needs to be complete before his 18th birthday, which is in October, to earn his Eagle Scout rank.

“It just seemed like a really good project,” Yeats said. “Also, the playground is really close to where our troop meets. It just seemed like the right kind of project for me.”

In his letter announcing the fundraiser, Yeats wrote that the current playground is “small, in an unappealing location and needs to be replaced.” The new playground is planned to be built with materials that will last a long time and will have more slides, climbers and interactive panels.

Only about 3 percent of scouts on average earn their Eagle Scout ranking, Troop 76 Scout Master Tommy Townsend said, because kids tend to get involved in other activities.

“It’s not just the Eagle Scout rank itself — it’s the fact that you spent the last 12-plus years of your life in scouts, and you’ve learned leadership training, perseverance, honesty, integrity, everything that benefits them tremendously throughout the course of the rest of their life,” Townsend said.

Getting the Eagle Scout ranking involves earning certain badges, community service hours, leadership positions and completing the project, Townsend said. Yeats has done all of this except the project, which is more ambitious in terms of cost. Several other scouts in the troop are also working toward the Eagle Scout ranking.

To earn the Eagle Scout ranking, the scout has to submit documentation to the district Eagle Board of Review and make a presentation, Townsend said. Troop 76 honors its Eagle Scouts with a custom shotgun.

“I’m just proud of him and all of them that persevere to the end,” Townsend said. “Especially nowadays it’s more and more difficult to keep them involved with the number of entertainment opportunities they have otherwise, so to get your Eagle rank nowadays is especially exemplary just because of the number of distractions in their lives these days.”

Donations are also accepted online through PayPal to BSATroop76@hotmail.com, with a note that the donation is for Yeat’s Eagle Project. More information is available on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanielYeatsEagleProject/ 

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