Building for future generations
Dylan Weber, a senior at Jackson High School, has fond memories of spending time at Safety City in Jackson City Park as a child. A couple of years ago, when the Noon Optimists mentioned the general store building was rotting at the playground, he decided to build a train depot to replace the building as his Eagle Scout project, so the next generation of children could enjoy the park, too.
Weber computer aided design (CAD)-modeled a design for the building before pouring the concrete and building it, a process he said took a couple of years. During the process, Weber faced challenges such as a storm that caused damage in the park.
“I definitely learned that things like that take time. It’s not always cut and dry from one step to another,” Weber says. “And then all the way to the end, normally, there’s a lot of things that are in-between. You’ve got the things that happen that are out of your control, like a big storm, or not having enough volunteers, not raising enough money in the budget — stuff like that can slow you down a lot. That’s for sure.”
Weber is proud to have accomplished a project he says some people initially thought was “a little bit too hard,” one he might not raise enough money for. He especially likes the fact it stands just up the hill from his dad’s Eagle Scout project, a landscaped sign in Jackson City Park.
“When we were finishing up my Eagle project, there was some kids that were coming to Safety City, riding their bikes around on some of the trails, and they were stopping and playing around the buildings and everything, and it was really fun to see how much of a positive impact that had on them,” Weber says. “Because the other building was falling apart, you know, it wasn’t safe, you couldn’t really go near it.”
In addition to his involvement with Boy Scouts — which he says he has been involved in since the first or second grade — Weber also serves his community by volunteering for Hope 4 Christmas, which the Jackson R-2 School District hosts. Weber got involved with the project last year, delivering collection boxes to local businesses to collect food for families in need during the holidays. Because he had so much fun participating last year, he decided to be involved with the project again this year.
Weber is also passionate about robotics — this is his second year being a part of the Jackson Robotics Team — and after high school, he hopes to attend Missouri S&T to study mechanical engineering.
Weber wants others to know young people are capable of making positive change in the world.
“[Teenagers] can accomplish a lot that a lot of people don’t realize. And sometimes, we have ideas that are better than some people realize,” Weber says. “Sometimes, you just don’t realize that teenagers can be good thinkers and they can have positive impacts on their community. I feel like if everybody sees everybody in the same light, we can all work together and actually get good stuff done.”