Eagle Scout earns his merit badge building mobile Gowanus greenhouse

19-year-old Brooklynite Alexander Lola developed a passion for the outdoors and the Boy Scouts at an early age. Over 10 years of Scout service, his desire to improve the community hasn’t wavered. It’s only grown stronger.

“I started as a cub scout in the second grade when I was about seven years old,” Lola said. “It became a great way for me to get out of house, be productive, meet people and spend time outdoors.”

Since his first Scout’s meeting, Lola has loved it as he continued to move up the ranks over the years. He was eventually promoted to patrol leader in his group and led it during various summer camps.

When he turned 17, it was time for Lola to work on his project to become an Eagle Scott. That’s when he found inspiration in building a mobile greenhouse on the Gowanus Canal.

“I was the project manager for whole thing. Anything that happened came through me,” he said.

The process started in April, 2013 and concluded in November, 2013.

Although he spearheaded the construction, Lola was quick to credit all the Scouts, leaders and volunteers that helped. “It wouldn’t have even been possible without them,” he said. “They were incredible.”

It was difficult process for Lola, who spent countless hours drawing and collecting necessary materials as well as working with various organizations and collecting donations, not to mention his personal obligations. “I was going through the college application process at the time, so it was tough,” he recalled. “But this was the summation of what I’ve been working on for 10 years. It meant too much to me to give up on. It felt great to reach that rank I worked so hard for.”

Other than personal accolades, another component that kept Lola inspired was the significance of improving the community and passing that lesson onto a younger generation. “That was a huge thing for me,” Lola said. “A lot of the kids loved helping out with tasks that were age appropriate. They wanted to push forward and keep going. We live in a very egocentric world now where community service is lacking in people’s priorities list, so it was great to see kids grow and work on this project and create the change they want to see.”

Lola currently attends Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. Although he’s undeclared, he eventually plans to pursue environmental studies thanks to his time as a Scout. “It helped me learn the importance of outdoors,” Lola noted. “It made me love doing environmental work with non-profits. There needs to be lots of change in environmental decisions”

During his downtime, Lola enjoys hiking, camping, rock climbing and art. Although college is currently limiting his time with the Scouts, he still attends meetings when he has the extra time.
“When I‘m home, I go to meetings. I’ve been doing since I was 14. I always loved doing it and will continue to do it,” he said.

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