Some Boy Scouts choose to collect food or clothing in a drive become an Eagle Scout. Others send care packages to soldiers abroad or volunteer at a food pantry. But Nick Peterson, 14, wanted to make a difference closer to home.
Peterson chose to construct a new swing set and renovate a playhouse in a park in the Savannah Springs subdivision in Lake Villa.
"I wanted to make a big change," Peterson said.
Scout master Dave Magri said the project was of a larger scale than the typical Eagle Scout project.
"That's unusual to have something of that scope get done," Magri said. "I think it's really great that the Boy Scouts, and Nick in particular, were able to contribute to the community in this sort of way."
Peterson, an incoming freshman at Grant High School and Lake Villa resident, originally went to Mayor Frank Loffredo in February, asking what was needed in his community, and Loffredo told him he had received letters from residents requesting a swing set.
"I did a lot of planning, and I met with the mayor and public works multiple times," Peterson said.
In addition to the financial support of local businesses, he also receive a donation of about $500 worth of supplies from Home Depot.
Peterson and a group of 15 other Boy Scouts completed the construction in two days in mid-July. They also improved a gravel pathway and add support to the unstable playhouse.
"Other people kind of saw how great the impact was," he said.
Peterson reported on the project last week to the Lake Villa board of trustees.
Miss Lake Villa Lauren Wright, who was at the meeting and is a resident of Savannah Springs, praised the park and the work the Scouts had done.
"I take that right there as proof that Nick accomplished what he wanted to," Magri said.
Magri added that 14 is also a young age for a Boy Scout to come so close to becoming an Eagle Scout, as Boy Scouts have until they are 18 to make the transition.
"I'm proud of myself that I actually got this far, and I've worked very hard to get here," Peterson said. "I hope that it inspires other people to do stuff for their community."