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Vineville UMC youth builds picnic tables for Wesley Glen to earn Eagle rank


By Kara Witherow, Editor

On warm, sunny days, Wesley Glen’s 40 residents enjoy eating picnic lunches.

They’re now able to, thanks to 18-year-old Joshua Asbell, who recently managed the fundraising, design, and production of 10 picnic tables to earn Boy Scouts’ highest rank.

Asbell, a senior at Macon’s Howard High School and a member of Vineville United Methodist Church, is the fourth Asbell to earn the Eagle Scout rank. His father, Dr. Jimmy Asbell, older brother Jimmy, and uncle have all achieved the prestigious rank.

“It’s consistent with our faith values of service above self, working for the common good, thinking ahead, and being prepared,” said Dr. Asbell, who also noted the Boy Scouts’ strong faith component. “It’s part of who our family was and is, and I wanted our boys to have the opportunity.”

During his time in Boy Scouts, Joshua has been a part of three different troops in three separate United Methodist churches. He started in Cub Scouts at Bonaire United Methodist Church and then moved to Warner Robins where he was involved with Scout Troop 550 at Christ United Methodist Church. In Macon, he’s been a member of Troop 170 at Forest Hills United Methodist Church.

Scouting has been a fun experience, Joshua said, and has afforded him the opportunity to attend camp, go on hiking trips, whitewater raft, and more.

“They have so much to offer and you can be in it for seven years and do a new thing each time,” he said. “It opens up what you can do.”

Joshua’s older brother Jimmy encouraged him to finish his Eagle Scout project and his mother, Vanda, who works at Wesley Glen, saw the ministry’s need for new picnic tables.

The Eagle Scout Service Project, or simply Eagle Project, is the opportunity for a Boy Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community. A component of the project is fundraising, and Joshua visited Vineville UMC’s Sunday school classes to ask members to donate in honor of someone or towards Wesley Glen Ministries. Members were generous in supporting his project and Wesley Glen, Joshua said.

“We raised more than enough to build the 10 picnic tables and I was even able to make a donation to Wesley Glen,” he said.

The project involved more than just fundraising and assembling a few picnic tables, Dr. Asbell said. It involved working with Wesley Glen, ordering supplies, and coordinating volunteers.

“The project is supposed to be not just the production, but the leadership involved in having your goals accomplished,” he said. The actual building of the picnic tables took a crew of about 15 Boy Scout volunteers and a few parents two days.

The tables were a huge blessing to Wesley Glen, said Julie Rogers, Wesley Glen Ministries’ Director of Development. Placed in a central location behind Wesley Glen’s Life Skills Center, they replaced some older, unsafe, unused tables and give residents a place to eat and socialize. 

“We do so many projects and fun things outside, and we really wanted a place for them to be able to congregate together,” she said. “They can now have a picnic lunch most days. We are so thankful that Joshua chose us and that he built something that we can use for years to come.”

Only four percent of Boy Scouts earn the 21 merit badges, serve the 18 hours, and complete the other requirements to earn the Eagle Scout rank. While proud to have accomplished his goal, Joshua Asbell is just as gratified to have continued a family tradition and to have helped others.

“It’s amazing to see the smiles on the faces of the residents,” he said. “Just to know that I’m helping them is a great feeling.”

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