Eagle Scout project provides shelter

for dogs and their owners

By Chuck Gibson

 MIAMI TWP., OH (July 31, 2020) – Milford Boy Scout Collin Chitwood just completed building a shelter in the dog park at Miami Meadows Park in Miami Township.

Collin Chitwood designed & built the Miami Meadows Park dog park shelter as his Eagle Scout project (Chuck Gibson) 

Collin is a member of Boy Scout Troop #128 of Milford, Ohio. He is the son of Heather & Denny Chitwood of Miami Township. He has an older sister, Maddy, they have a dog named Penny, and he’ll be a junior at Milford H.S. this school year. He designed and built the dog park shelter for his project to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

“It symbolizes that you’re willing to help other people out,” said Collin. “You can take that into your career. When you go into a career, people don’t see that as a badge, they see that you’re willing to take responsibility and help other people out. I really want to get it to show I’m willing to do that.”

Penny, the family dog, played a key role in deciding exactly how he could help others in his own community. Originally Collin planned to repair a trail in the park for his Eagle Scout project. That’s’ where mom and the dog enter the picture.

Penny, the Chitwood family dog helped inspire the project is seen resting in the shade of a work bench during construction of the shelter (Photo Heather Chitwood) 

“My mom goes to the dog park a lot,” Collin explained. “Some people were complaining there wasn’t enough shade in the small-dog park. We discussed it and decided to build a shelter to fix that problem.”

Collin didn’t have a lot of knowledge or experience building a shelter. Thanks to internet searches, he found a lot of helpful information. They decided on an open frame with trusses and a shingled roof to cover the existing concrete pad and picnic tables. With plan in hand, it was time to get supplies and start building.

“We actually were working with the Township (Miami Township) on it,” Collin said. “They brought most of the wood and the concrete. They brought the big bags.”

Those big bags were the 80-pound bags of concrete mix. Building trusses, digging post holes, pouring concrete and setting posts was all new to Collin. He had help. His dad, other Scouts and a couple other dads were right there on Day 1 when they began cutting lumber and assembling trusses in the garage at the Chitwood house

Collin had other scouts helping build the trusses in the garage at his house. (Photo Heather Chitwood)

“That was our first work day,” he said. “We built all the trusses here.”

The idea was to build them in the garage to stay out of the sun and heat. The second work day, he was introduced to the post-hole digger. One of his adult helpers was Rocky Dunham, an experienced construction worker. He had good motivation to help out with Collin’s project.

 “My son is an Eagle Scout,” said Dunham. “We just help out. I like helping on Eagle projects. I’ve done a lot of them. It’s just paying back for Carson. He and Collin are really good friends too.”

Collin helped out on Carson’s Eagle Scout project previously. Carson and his dad came out to return the favor lending a helping hand to Collin building the shelter.

Trusses built, loaded and ready to head over to the dog park (Photo Heather Chitwood)

The crew on the job during construction of the dog park shelter (Photo Heather Chitwood)

“It feels good to give back to the community,” said Carson Dunham. “This is local and I think it will help a lot of people out. Also, I know how much it means, being an Eagle Scout myself, to get that. I wanted to help Collin get his.”

It takes a good amount of people to complete an Eagle Scout project. Collin had a plan, they met at his house with the other minor Scouts and it all came together from there. Dunham was impressed with what he saw from his son and Collin leading the project.

 “They did a real good job,” Dunham said. “They built their own trusses. Collin did a lot of research and knew how to do everything. It was a good idea. From what I can see, this part of the park had absolutely no shade.”

Father/Son team of Rocky & Carson Dunahm helped Collin with his Eagle Scout project. (Chuck Gibson)

The father/son combination of Rocky and Carson Dunham paid off for Collin in more ways than one. Due to Boy Scout rules, anyone under 18 could not get up on the roof, but Carson just turned 20 so he was able to help out up there. Rocky’s construction knowledge helped with having tools like an auger to help drill the post holes to the required depth.  Collin admitted he didn’t know how much work post-hole digging was, but learned fast setting the posts.

“They were 14-feet; three feet into the ground,” Collin said. “Then we cut them off, I think seven or eight feet (above the ground).”

Once the posts were set, next came putting up the outer banding around the posts to mount the trusses. Next, they put up the plywood roofing.

 “We didn’t have enough time to finish the shingles that day,” said Collin. “We came back another day and that went a lot faster than I thought.”

Setting the posts (Photo Heather Chitwood) 

Having an auger helped with the post-hole digging (Photo Heather Chitwood)

They worked into the dark of night getting the posts set (Photo Heather Chitwood) 

The final evening went like clockwork with the adults up on the roof laying down the shingles. Collin and the younger Scouts assisted from ground level. They completed the work and clean-up in just a couple hours. It all came together in the heat of a hot summer Saturday, July 18. It didn’t take long for the people to reap the benefits of the shade. What did Collin like best about the experience?

 “Just seeing people enjoy the shelter so quickly,” Collin said. “It shows that you’re doing something, not for yourself. We’ve also been seeing more people back there now that there’s some shade.  It’s kinda cool.”

Setting the outer bands for the mounting of the trusses. (PHoto Heather Chitwood) 

After all, cool is exactly what the shelter will mean for dog park visitors. They’ll be able to find shade from the sun for many hot summer days to come at Miami Meadows Park in Miami Township. In the days after, Collin completed his application forms to be recognized as an Eagle Scout. It may take about a month for the process to find out if he earned the honor of Eagle Scout. For now, he’s thankful for all the help he got from his Dad, Mom, Penny, the family dog, and everyone who came out to assist. 

“They were a huge help,” he said. “If it weren’t for them, it definitely would not have gone so smooth.” 

All the helpers made construction smooth (Photo Heather Chitwood) 

Miami Meadows Dog Park Shelter was the Eagle Scout project of Collin Chitwood seen here with his Dad, Denny (Chuck Gibson)