Back in November, Santa Clara Resident Nicky Caldwell, 17, received his Eagle Scout Award at the Santa Clara Elks Lodge. At the event, Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor and City Council Member Kathy Watanabe recognized Caldwell with a Proclamation.
According to Caldwell, the Eagle Scout Award is the highest rank for members in the Scouts of BSA (Boy Scouts of America). To earn this award, Caldwell remodeled a lumber storage and set shop and constructed a mobile chopsaw table for the Roberta Jones Junior Theatre (RJJT), part of Santa Clara’s Parks and Recreation Department. Caldwell has been a cast member in many RJJT shows.
“For the Eagle project, a Scout has to plan and design something with fellow Scouts,” said Caldwell, a member of Troop #394. “It has to equal over 100 man hours. I worked with Kevin Cornelius (former Recreation Supervisor for Santa Clara’s Parks and Recreation Department), my scout master and the people who run the scouting board. My dad helped me with the building project, as well as my fellow Scouts.”
Caldwell’s objective was to revamp the area where sets for the theater are built. He wanted to enhance the safety and accessibility of the environment that the set designers work in.
“The lumber storage is where RJJT stores the wood that would be used for sets,” Caldwell said. “There were entire sheets of uncut and unused wood that was on the bottom of stacks of other pieces of wood and we couldn’t get to them. I created new shelving systems that hold all the wood vertically like a bookshelf so people can easily decide what they want and take what they need.
“I designed the mobile chopsaw table with my dad,” Caldwell continued. “The mountable saw didn’t have a space to be mounted on. So, we couldn’t use the saw. I built a table that was more sturdy. It could be attached to this saw so you can use it safely. We put the saw on locking casters, a type of wheel, so the table could easily move. We also built a handy shelf on the bottom of the table so the saw could be stored away.”
About 147 hours went into the planning and execution of the project. Caldwell began planning his Eagle Scout project in September 2018. After the plan was approved, he and his team began and completed the project in February 2019.
“One of the things I’ve learned from the Eagle process is self-discipline and leading through humility,” Caldwell said. “When I mention self discipline, what I mean is there’s so much to do, so much I need to accomplish. I have learned to lead through experience. It’s important to take advice from the people you’re leading instead of being hard set on your plans.
“For example, I had a last-minute brainstorming session with some of my Scouts regarding the shelving in the lumber storage,” Caldwall continued. “The vertical dividers we had didn’t function the way that we’d planned. The Scouts threw out some ideas. I picked one of their ideas, which was to create the shelving at an angle.”