When it came time for Nathaniel Machado to find a service project for his Eagle Scout requirement, he found it right in his home parish, St. Juan Diego Church in Northwest Portland. The 16-year-old Liberty High School student designed and planted a woodsy scene that creates a visual barrier between the church and the street.
St. Juan Diego has a landscape committee, with three Master Gardeners, who assisted the boy in finding plants native to Oregon that would be self-sustaining.
“It meant a lot more to do something I knew I would see every Sunday,” Nathaniel said. “It helped me commit to the project more. I know there are others scouts who do the project just to get the badge.”
Eagle is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America program. It requires at least 21 merit badges and a demonstration of “Scout Spirit” through service and leadership.
Nathaniel is the son of Anna and Luis Machado, of Hillsboro.
Scouting has been part of Nathaniel’s life since he was very young. Both of his parents have been involved with his packs; his father was a Cubmaster.
Nathaniel planned and coordinated the entire project, from start to finish. He stood before his congregation to solicit volunteer assistance, and wrote an ongoing column in the church bulletin with updates.
Now that the landscaping is complete, Nathaniel expects to be an official Eagle Scout within six months. He still has a few more merit badges to finish up and the paperwork must be processed.
Nathaniel encourages other Scouts working toward Eagle status not to lose faith.
“It’s a long road, but it means a lot,” he said. “It’s something you’ll have for the rest of your life.”