Eagle Scout service projects are supposed to be challenging, testing a Scout’s determination and leadership. But Tyler Kendrick’s project at Anna’s House was particularly tough – a year-and-a-half journey that required adaptations for a global pandemic and special permissions from a Boy Scout council.

Kendrick had volunteered at Anna’s House in the past, babysitting children at the program, which provides a broad array of services to families experiencing homelessness in Harford County. So in summer 2019, as he began to consider his project, he thought of Anna’s House.

“I noticed that it wasn’t looking too good outside,” he said, explaining how he worked with staff to develop a plan to beautify a portion of the property, including weeding, mulching, repainting a gazebo and building outdoor benches.

Tyler Kendrick at Anna’s House

He got necessary approvals for his project, held a fundraiser to support the work and prepared for a March or April start date. “And that’s when everything got shut down for COVID,” he said.

Pandemic restrictions prevented Anna’s House from hosting volunteers, but the clock was ticking for Kendrick. Scouts must earn Eagle before they turn 18, and his 18th birthday was in September. He filed for – and was granted – an extension, allowing him to continue pursuing the rank, which only about 8 percent of Scouts reach.

Creating a beautiful, peaceful home for others

On Oct. 10, 2020, Kendrick was finally able to gather about a dozen people – other Scouts from Troop 238 and a small group of adults, including his parents – at Anna’s House. He divided the volunteers and directed their activities.

“The front looked really good when he was done,” said Kendrick’s mother, Debbie Kendrick. “We had extra mulch, so we went into the back too – we had all the people, so we just did it.”

Jennifer Crosson, the resource development manager at Anna’s House, said clients now use the benches as a quiet escape or as a place from which to watch their children on the playground.

“The project was much needed after months of COVID volunteer restrictions. The gardens that are typically weeded and mulched in the spring had been neglected for months,” she said.  “Having beautiful, maintained grounds for our families provides a safe, peaceful place for them to come home to.”

Kendrick was officially named an Eagle Scout in February. Now a senior at C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air, he plans to attend the University of Maryland at College Park, majoring in aerospace engineering.

“It made me feel really good that I was able to do that for Anna’s House and give back to the community,” he said. “I’ll probably still be volunteering at Anna’s House whenever I can.”