APPLETON — Twins Aiden and Adelyn Carney have more in common than just the same birthday. They have both reached the pinnacle of success in scouting. Last November, Aiden became an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts and this March Adelyn earned the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Aiden and Adelyn, juniors at Xavier High School, belong to St. Mary Parish in Appleton with their parents Angela and David Carney. Adelyn got involved in Girl Scouts as a Daisy Scout when she was in kindergarten, and Aiden joined Cub Scouts a few years later.
Aiden, who belongs to Troop 9, St. Pius X Parish in Appleton, said becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, was an important goal. “I had a lot of support from my family, and seeing all my friends and other members of my troop become Eagle Scouts, I just wanted to be a part of that,” he said.
One requirement to become an Eagle Scout is a service project that a scout plans, organizes, leads and manages. “The project I chose was to build a devotional to St. Jude,” said Aiden. “I chose this project because my grandpa, Gerald Grall, had wanted to do something for the church and he suggested this to me — he is very devoted to St. Jude. I brought the idea to the church and they agreed to it so I went through with it.”
Money for the project was donated by a parishioner. Aiden described the devotional, which is located in the parish chapel. “It’s a little stand, it has kneelers on it, there’s a statue of St. Jude and candles, prayer cards and a donation box,” he said. Donations are used to cover the cost of the candles and the prayer cards.
He was in charge of designing the devotional so that it would fit the space where it was to be housed and match the decorating style of the chapel, selecting a statue, and garnering final approval of the project from the parish. With that done, he built the devotional with help from his grandfather and father, who is also an Eagle Scout.
“The stand was a lot of work that took precision craftsmanship,” said Aiden, who plans to go to college for computer engineering. “All the wood pieces had to be stained, varnished and installed. There was a lot of molding on it too so that took a lot of time.”
Adelyn, who is considering a career in medicine, chose an equally demanding project — renovating a space in the lower level of St. Mary Parish. “We have this basement room in our parish and before it wasn’t really being used for anything. It was kind of this dingy space and nobody really wanted to go down there,” said Adelyn.
“I wanted to remodel the space to make it into a youth space,” she said. “Being that the youth are the future of the parish, I wanted to get a space where they could integrate into the parish better.”
There were two parts to the project. “It’s this big room and then there’s this little kitchen. My project largely centered around the kitchen, but we did end up painting the walls of the rest of the place to add a pop of color,” said Adelyn.
Adelyn created a budget and a design board to present to the parish and the parish council for their approval before she began. “I designed everything. I went to all the vendors and grabbed samples. I saw what I liked and what I didn’t like,” she said. “We ended up ripping out all the cabinets and all the countertops. We bought new cabinets, hardware, a new microwave, fridge, dishwasher, sink, faucets, and the plumbing had to be redone.”
It took a lot of donated money (some $12,000) and work from fellow parishioners to make this project happen. Adelyn had help from numerous volunteers, from youth to adults, including two men with carpentry skills, who installed the cabinets and did other skilled labor jobs as well.
The initial open house was held recently, featuring “Music with a Message” with Seth Alfaro and Julien Foss. “Seth was playing all his original songs and before each song he would explain the song and what prompted him to write it and the message of the song. They all had a tie to religion with his faith life,” noted Adelyn. “He was a good role model for the younger people to see.”
For both Adelyn and Aiden, their projects not only helped them earn recognition in scouting but turned out to be gratifying endeavors. It was rewarding being part of the first open house, Adelyn said. “It was really cool seeing the room filled. It felt super cool to see everyone having fun and doing their thing.”
Aiden said the best part for him was seeing the devotional to St. Jude completed. “When we all brought it over and assembled it for the first time, it looked really, really nice. Everything matches well and it fits the space. And people are using it — there’s always candles lit so I know people are using it.”