Alec Gern ’20 loves sports and in particular, hockey. Growing up, he played basketball, baseball and football but now in high school he has concentrated on lacrosse and club hockey, playing for the Northwest Chargers in Rolling Meadows.
In searching for an Eagle Scout project, Alec thought of other children wanting to play sports, but who might not be able to afford equipment or have access to programs.
Consequently, after receiving approval from leaders with Boy Scout Troop 140, based at St. Mary School in Buffalo Grove, Alec began collecting used sports equipment for the “Hockey on Your Block” program, sponsored by the Chicago-based One Goal Foundation.
The program provides ice time and coaching, as well as equipment, to inner-city Chicago youth. Its stated goal is to “help kids learn essential life skills through the core values of hockey: sportsmanship, perseverance, and teamwork.”
Alec set up collection boxes at West Meadows Ice Arena in Rolling Meadows, Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills and Mount Prospect Ice Arena, which is home to Saint Viator’s hockey teams, as well as at Saint Viator, where students could donate any type of used sports equipment. Ultimately, he collected more than 500 used sticks, skates, helmets as well as shoulder and shin pads.
“It’s expensive to play hockey,” Alec says. “The top-end gear can really be expensive. I want to be able to help kids play, who might not otherwise have that opportunity.”
As a result of Alec’s leadership in his troop, even before starting his Eagle Scout project, Alec won the troop’s first Den Chief Award, after serving as Den Chief for his den through three years of Scouting.
“Scouting has given me a lot,” Alec says. “I’ve gotten to go on a lot of camping trips, including a camping trip to Alaska, and it’s even extended to our family. We took a long camping trip out to see Yellow Stone National Park.”
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is an achievement only five percent of Scouts achieve, say officials with Boy Scouts of America, and it is the highest achievement in Scouting.