Ethan Robinette has been involved in Boy Scouts since he was 6 years old because as a first-grader, he and his parents believed it was a good program that would teach him not only outdoor skills, but more importantly, life skills.

By RIMSIE McCONIGA
rmcconiga@leavenworthtimes.com


Ethan Robinette has been involved in Boy Scouts since he was 6 years old because as a first-grader, he and his parents believed it was a good program that would teach him not only outdoor skills, but more importantly, life skills.


Fast forward 11 years and Ethan’s Scouting experience has not only honed his outdoor and life skills, it has also been an asset to veterans and the community as his Eagle Scout project of raising money for the new Eisenhower VA Medical Center pavilion has come to fruition.


“The project I wanted to do cost a lot of money,” says Ethan.   “The VA could not provide any money and my parents could not afford the cost of the project. If I wanted to do it, I knew I would have to raise over $11,000 myself.”


For VA patients and their families who are visiting the medical center, the pavilion provides a rest and relaxation area.
"Ethan personally contacted local businesses to let them know about the project and the need for funds/material," says Ethan's mom, Anna Robinette. "The businesses gave grants, funds or donated material to help. The word got out that he was doing the project and several individuals/families gave money toward it too.  One family (Charley's Crusade) even gave half of their baseball tournament proceeds towards the project. It was great seeing the support of so many."   


The pavilion will also provide an outdoor site for medical center staff or patients to conduct activities.      
For Ethan, the pavilion is the culmination of many years of hard work in Scouting.


He is proud of his outdoor skills but the most important gift that Boy Scouts has given him has been learning and appreciating what it means to give back to the community and people in general.
Ethan comes from a military family and it is important for him to honor veterans.


“It is my duty as a citizen to honor and pay my respects to veterans,” he said. “They are the ones that provide the freedoms we are able to enjoy here in the U.S. Most people do not realize how our country benefits from a strong military or what the veterans sacrifice to serve the nation.”


For young men and women, Ethan thinks Scouting is one of the best ways to learn many different skills and affords many situations that can develop leadership qualities, as well as working as a team, to accomplish projects and tasks.
“It exposes you to many different types of activities, skills or interest areas when you work on the different types of merit badges,” says Ethan. “It has taught me respect, outdoor skills, citizenship and to love and respect my country. I think it taught me to become a better leader and citizen, which will help me achieve my goals in life.”


As a senior at Leavenworth High School, Ethan’s last year has been a busy one. He is a student council public relations officer, in a leadership group and the National Honor Society, mentors and plays tennis.


In college, he will pursue his goal of becoming an ophthalmologist.
As he looks ahead with excitement, he knows he will never forget achieving a goal that will provide veterans with the calming and beautiful pavilion at the VA that they can enjoy for years to come.
Ethan believes that raising the funds for the structure was his duty as a citizen.


“Many people today just want to enjoy all of the benefits that a community provides without putting in the work to make it a nice place to live. If everyone helps, it makes it a lot easier and you get to know the people that live around you,” he said.


When asked if he looks forward to watching people at the VA spending leisurely time in the pavilion, he said he definitely is.
“It will mean a lot and bring a smile to my face to see veterans and VA staff enjoying it,” he said. “Everyone that volunteered to work on the project spent a lot of time (699 hours and 23 people) to make it a place veterans can enjoy.”